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This book is DUE on the last date -*-" ned below 



* * 

T H E 

3U*es of ti)e >atnt0 




* * 

* . gj 

First Edition ..... published iSj2 
Second Edition .... , , I ^97 

New and Revised Edition, 16 vols. ,, ^9 { 4 

* * 

After Francia, in the Church of S. John Lateran, Rome. 

March, Frontispiece.] 

[March 25. 

ft ft 


!Litit0 of tf)e >aint0 



With Introduction and Additional Lives of English 

Martyrs, Cornish, Scottish, and Welsh Saints, 

and a full Index to the Entire Work. 

New and Revised Edition 





ft ft 





SS. Abraham and Mary 275 
S. Adrian, B. of S. 

Andrews ... 59 
Adrian, M. at \Yin- 

tersboven . . . 553 
Agricola ... 

.. Alberta 212 

.. Albinus 16 

Alexander of Apa- 

mea 203 

Alexander of Jeru- 
salem .... 312 

., Alfwold 460 

Alkmund .... 334 
Amamius .... 333 
Ambrose of Sienna . 369 
.. Angus of Keld . .217 

.. Aninas 274 

Annunciation : B. Y. 

Mary .... 450 

. . 252 

., Antonina . . 

. . 8 

.. Aphrodi; 


Beziers . . 


Aphrodisius of Car- 

thage . . 

. 256 

Apoilonins . . 

. . 156 

Aristobahts . 

. . 266 

SS. Armogastes 


camp. . . 

. 496 

S. Asterius . . 


.. Augusta . . 

- - 483 


. . 513 

SS. Balther and Bilfred 

S. Barachisras . 

. . 491 

Basil of Ancvra 

. S07 

SS. Basiliscus and cotnp. 44 

S. Basinus . . 

- 59 





SS. Bathus, Verca, and 
children . . 
S. Benedict . . . 
Benjamin . . . 
Bilfrid .... 
Boniface Quiritine 


Braulio .... 




SS. Caius and Alexander 203 
,, Caius the Palatine 

and comp. ... 57 
S. Camin of Iniskeltra 458 
Casimir, Prince . . 60 
Castulus .... 467 
Catherine of Bologna 182 

Chad 23 

B. Charles the Good . 38 
S. Chelidonius ... 44 
Chrodegang ... 96 
Cleonicus .... 44 

SS. Codratus and comp. 203 

S. Colette 97 

Columba .... 274 
Constantine . . . 214 

Crucifixion, Memorial of 254 
S. Cuthbert .... 337 
,, Cyril, Patr. of Jeru- 
salem . . . .314 
Cyril of Heliopolis . 492 

SS. Cyril and Methodius 176 


Daniel 517 

David 10 

Deogratias . . .411 
Dionysius of Cae- 

sarea .... 444 
DionysiusofCorinth 203 
Domangart . . . 445 
Domnina .... 9 
Dorotheus .... 222 

S. Drausinus .... 74 
Droctoveus . . . 209 

Dina 457 

Duthac 164 

S. Edward . . . 
B. Eelko Liaukaman 
SS. Emetherius an 
S. Enda . . 

Ethelwold . 



Eulogius . 





Eutropius . 




S. Felicitas .... 102 

,, Felix 163 

Fina. ..... 239 

SS. Fingar and Piala . 437 
S. Finnian . . . .321 

SS. Forty Martyrs of 

Sebaste .... 204 
S. Frances of Rome . 185 
Fridolin . . . . 91 
Frigidian . . . .321 

S. Gabriel, Archangel. 312 
Gerasimus. ... 63 
Gertrude .... 306 

Gorgo 212 

Gorgonius .... 222 
Gregory the Great . 226 
Gregory of Nyssa . 172 







S. Heribert . . . 
Hesychius . . . 
SS. Hilary and comp. 
S. HiMelitha . . . 
B. Hugo .... 
S. Humbert . . . 
Hymelin . . . 


S. Irenaeus 




3 2 9 


S. Joachim .... 336 

Joavan 22 

John of Civita-di- 

Penne .... 
John Climacus . . 
John of Egypt . . 
,, John of God . . . 
John-Joseph . . . 
SS. Jonas and Bara- 

chisius .... 
S. Joseph, husband of 

B. V. Mary . . 327 
Joseph of Arimathea 283 
Julian of Anazarbus 273 


S. Katharine of Sweden 421 
Kennocha . . . .255 

Kessog 208 

Kieran 66 

,, Kunegund. ... 52 
SS. Kyneburga and 

comp 93 

S. Kyneswitha ... 93 

S. Lactean . . . .331 
Landoald .... 333 
Leo, Archb. Rouen 19 
Longinus .... 266 


S. Lubin 257 

Lucius 55 

Ludger 469 

Lupicinus . . . .371 
,, Lydia 482 



Macarius . . . 
Mark of Arethusa 
Marinus and Aste 
rius .... 
Martyrs under Alex 

ander . . . 
Martyrs under the 

Lombards . . 
,, Martyrs under Nero 
Martyrs of Sebaste 
Martyrs in the Sera- 

pion .... 
S. Mathilda . . . 
,, Matrona . . . 
,, MatthewofBeauvais 
Maxima of Nico- 
media .... 
Maxima of Sermium 
Memorial of the Cruci- 
fixion .... 
S. Methodius. . . . 
Mochoemog . . . 


Montanus and 

Maxima . . . 















Narcissus . . 
Nicander . . 
Nicephorus . 
Nicholas von 
Flue . . . 




S. Owen 57 







S. Pacian 172 

Pancharius . . . 328 

Papas 273 

Patrick . . . . . .285 

Paul of Cyprus . . 311 
Paul of Leon . . . 223 
Paul of Narbonne . 406 
Paul the Simple. . 114 
Penitent Thief, the . . 456 
SS. Perpetua and comp. 102 
,, Peter and comp. of 

Carthage . . .256 
Peter and comp. of 

Nicomedia . . 222 
B. Peter of Castelnau . 74 
S. Peter the Spaniard. 221 
SS. Philemon and Apol- 

lonius . . . .156 

Philetus and comp . 482 

S. Phocas 63 

Piala 437 

Piran or Kieran . . 66 
Proculus . . . .435 

S. Quirinus of Rome . 456 
Quirinus the Tribune 504 

' R 
S. Regulus .... 504 
Renovatus. . . 5 J 5 
SS. Ruderick and Salo- 
mon 254 

S. Rudesind .... 19 

Salomon . . . .254 
Secundus .... 503 
Senan of Iniscatthy 159 

Serapion . . 
Sezin . . . 
Simon of Trent 
Simplicius . . 
Sixtus . . . 
Spes .... 
Swibert the elder 



S. Tatian 271 

Tetricus .... 322 
,, Thomas Aquinas . 116 
B. Thomas of Lancaster 414 

S. Tibba 93 

SS. Timolaus and comp. 444 
Twenty Monks at S. 

Sabas .... 365 



Verca and children 468 

Victorian .... 439 

Vincent .... 213 

Vindician . . . .215 


Virgilius .... 72 



William of Norwich 461 

Winwaloe .... 49 

Withburga . . . 309 


Wulfram . . . .361 

S. Xystus, Pope 


S. Zacharias .... 268 
Zosimus of Syracuse 508 


tfl * 


The Annunciation Frontispiece 

After FRANCIA, in the Church of S. fohn Lateran, 

S. David to face p. 10 

S. Rudesind 1 8 

After Cahier. 

Lichfield Cathedral {see p. 23) . . . . o?i p. 20 

S. Chad to face p. 24 

S. Kunegund, Empress of Germany . 52 

Forms of Mitre on p. 54 

S. Casimir, Prince of Poland . . . to face p. 60 

After Cahier. 

Group of Angels on p. 62 

Marriage of the Virgin 89 

After a Bas- Relief by ORCAGNA. 

S. Thomas Aquinas showing S. Louis the 
Coronation of the Blessed Virgin 
Mary by the Word Incarnate. . to face p. 116 

S. Thomas Aquinas 128 

After Cahier. 

S. John of God 168 

After Cahier. 


x List of Illustrations 

Jesus Christ, in the Character of a 
Pilgrim, accepting the Hospitality 
of two Dominicans on p. 171 

From a Fresco by Fra Angelico at Florence. 

S. Gregory of Nyssa to face p. 172 

After a Picture by Dominichino at Rome. 

S. Gregory of Nyssa (with square Nimbus) 174 

After Cahier. 

Cathedral Modena ,,182 

From Stoughton's " Italian Reformers." 

Hatred and Malice on p. 202 

Symbolic Carving at the Abbey of S. Denis. 

Deceitfulness and Vanity . . . 211 

Symbolic Carving at the Abbey, of S. Denis. 

S. Gregory the Great .... to face p. 226 

After Cahier. 

Mass of S. Gregory 238 

Pusillanimity on p. 240 

Symbolic Carving at the Abbey of S. Denis. 

S. Matilda to face p. 260 

Slothfulness and Gluttony .... on p. 265 

Symbolic Carving at the Abbey of S. Denis. 

SS. Joseph and Nicodemus anointing the 

Body of Christ ..... to face p. 282 

From an old Painting. 

S. Patrick 286 

After Cahier. 

S. Gertrude of Nivelles .... ., 306 

After Cahier. 




List of Illustrations 


Portion of a Monstrance .... 

Murder of S. Edward .... 

S. Joseph, Husband of the Blessed Virgin 

From the Vienna Missal. 

Death of S. Joseph 


Death of S. Cuthbert .... 

S. Cuthbert in his Hermit's Cell . 

S. Benedict 

After Cahjer. 

S. Benedict exorcising an Evil Spirit 
which had interrupted the Work- 
men employed in building a Chapel 

From a Fresco, by Spinelli d'Arezzo, in the 
Church of San Miniato, near Florence. 

S. Benedict reproving Totila, and pre- 
dicting his Death 

From a Fresco, painted by Spinem.i d'Arezzo, in 
the Church of San Miniato, near Florence. 

The Two Thieves {see p. 456) : S. Dimas 
Penitent, with Angel bearing his 
happy Soul to Paradise; the Impe- 
nitent, with Demon dragging forth 
his unwilling Soul .... 

The Heavenly Messenger .... 

"The Angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a 
city of Galilee, named Nazareth, to a virgin 
espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, 
of the house of David ; and the virgin's name 
was Mary." 

. on p. 311 
to face p. 324 





on p. 443 
to face p. 450 



* . (J, 

xii List of Illustrations 

The Annunciation to face p. 452 

After Israel van Mecken, in the Museum at 

The Annunciation 454 

After a Picture in the Museum at Madrid (?) 

Memorial of the Crucifixion ... 456 

After a Picture by Roger van DER Weyden, 
in the Museum at Madrid. 

"Fortitude" on p. 481 

"Hope" 490 

S. Amadeus of Savoy to face p. 512 

After Cahier. 

* * 

*- * 

Lives of the Saints 

March 1. 

S. Hesychius, B.M. at Carteja, in Spain, ist cent. 

S. Eudocia, M. at Heliopolis, in Phoenicia, 2nd cent. 

S. Antonina, M. at Nic&a, 4th cent. 

S. Domnina, V.H. in Syria, circ. A.D. 460. 

S. Simplicius, Abp. of Bourges, circ. A.D. 480. 

S. David, Abp. of Mencvia, in Wales, a.d. 544. 

S. Herculanius, B.M. at Perugia, a.d. 547. 

S. Albinus, B. of Angers, circ. A.D. 549. 

S. Marnon, B. in Scotland. 

S. Siward, Ab. ofS. Calais, in France, A.D. 687. 

S. Swibkrt, B. Ap. of the Frisians, A.D. 713. 

S. Monan, Arc/id. ofS. Andrews, in Scotland, circ. A.D. 874. 

S. Leo, M. Abp. of Rouen and Ap. of Bayonne, circ. a.d. 900. 

S. Leo Luke, Ab. of Muletta, in Calabria, circ. a.d. 90a 

S. Rudesind, B. of Dumium, in Portugal, A.D. 977. 

B. Roger, Abp. of Bourges, a.d. 1368. 

B. Bonavita, C. Blacksmith of Lugo, in Italy, a.d. 1375. 

(ist cent.) 

[Spanish Martyrologies. Not in the Roman.] 

IJESYCHIUS is traditionally said to have been 
one of seven apostles sent by S. Peter into 
Spain. He is supposed to have preached in 
the neighbourhood of Gibraltar, and to have 
made Carteja, or Carcesia, the modern Algeziras, his head- 
quarters. Nothing authentic is known of this mission, or 
of his labours and martyrdom. 

VOL. III. x 

j, 4 

2 Lives of the Saints. [March i. 


(2ND 1 CENT.) 

[Greek Menaea, and Roman Martyrology. This saint does not occur in 
any of the ancient Latin Martyrologies. Her name was inserted in the 
Roman Martyrology by Baronius. She is called Eudoxia or Eudocia. 
Authority : An ancient Greek Life which, however, from its using the 
word homo-ousios, and calling the Praetor, Count, proves to be later than 
the times of Constantine. The story has a foundation of fact, perhaps; 
but a large amount of addition to it has been made of fabulous matter, to 
convert it into a religious romance.] 

There was a Samaritan woman named Eudocia, of 
great beauty, who lived as a harlot, in the city of Heliopolis, 
in Phoenicia. She had amassed much wealth by her 
shameful mode of life, and she thought only of how she 
might gratify the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and 
the pride of life. But the word of God is like a hammer 
that breaketh the rocks in pieces. 

There was a monk, named Germanus, passing through 
the city, and he lodged with an acquaintance next door to 
the house of Eudocia. And in the middle of the night he 
arose, as was his wont, and sang his Psalms, and, opening a 
book began, by the light of his lamp, to read a spiritual 
lecture with a loud voice. And this happened to be its 
subject, the coming of Jesus Christ on the clouds of 
heaven to judge all men according to their works, when 
they that have done well shall enter into life, and they that 
have done evil shall be cast into eternal fire. Now, it fell 
out that there was only a lath and plaster wall between the 
room where the monk was and that in which Eudocia lay. 
And when he began to sing she awoke, wondering, and 
listened, annoyed at first at the disturbance, but afterwards 
interested and alarmed. Then, when she heard him read 

1 In the reign of Trajan, says the Life, but this is very questionable. Monastic 
life was not developed then to the extent shown in this story. 

% -* 

* * 

March i.] .S*. Eudocia. 3 

the sentence of God on sinners, she was filled with re- 
morse for the past, present shame, and fear for the future. 
And when morning dawned, she sent for the monk, and she 
asked him if that was true which he had read during the 
night He answered that it was so. Then looking round, 
and wondering at the costly furniture and luxuries that 
abounded, he said simply, " What a rich man thy husband 
must be !" Then she reddened with shame, and said, in a 
low voice, " I have many lovers, but no husband." " Oh, 
my daughter," cried Germanus, " Would'st thou rather be 
poor now, and live in joy and glory hereafter, or be wealthy 
now and perish miserably in everlasting death?" Then 
Eudocia said, " How hard thy God must be to hate riches." 
" God forbid," exclaimed the monk, "it is not riches that 
He abhors, but goods unjustly gotten." Then he declared 
to her in order what she must do and believe to be saved. 
" And first, send for a priest of the city who may give thee 
proper instruction, that thou mayest be baptized, for baptism 
is the beginning and the foundation of the whole Christian 
life. And now, prepare thyself with fasting and prayer." 

So Eudocia bade her servants close the house, as though 
she had gone into her country villa, and should any one 
come to the door, refuse him admission. And she sent for 
a priest, and when he came she said, " Oh, sir ! I am a 
grievous sinner, a sea of guilt" "Be of good cheer, my 
daughter," was his salutation. "The sea of guilt may be 
changed into a port of salvation, and the waves tossing 
with passion sink into an ineffable calm." Then he in- 
structed her on the nature of repentance, and bade her 
wear a mean dress, putting away her trinkets and silk gown, 
and fast for seven days ; and he diligendy taught her what 
she must believe and do. And before he went on his way, 
Germanus visited her once again, to confirm the good work 
that was begun in her. Then she asked him why he lived 


* _____ 

4 Lives of the Saints. [March 

in the desert, and in the practice of severe mortification. 
" Oh, my daughter," he said ; " We monks labour inces- 
santly to cleanse from every spot of sin the garments of our 
souls." And she said, " I have now fasted and eaten 
nothing for seven days. And I will declare to thee what 
befel me last night. In my exhaustion I sank into a trance, 
and saw, and lo ! an angel took me by the hand, and led 
me into Heaven, where was unspeakable light, and there I 
saw the blessed ones in white, with shining faces, and all 
their countenances lit up as I approached, and they came 
running towards me, and greeted me, even me, as a sister. 
Then there came up a shadow, horrible and black, and it 
shrieked, saying, ' This woman is mine. I have used her to 
destroy many, she has worked for me as a bond slave, and 
shall she be saved ? I, for one little disobedience, was cast 
out of heaven, and here is this beast, steeped from head to 
foot in pollution, admitted to the company of the elect ! 
Have done with this ; take them all, scrape all the rascals 
and harlots on earth together, and admit them into your 
society. I will off into my Hell, and grovel there in fire 
for ever.' And then I heard a voice from the ineffable light 
answer and say, ' God willeth not the death of a sinner, but 
rather that he should be converted and live.' And after 
that the angel took me by the hand and led me home again, 
and saying to me, ' There is joy in heaven over one sinner 
that repenteth,' signed me thrice with the cross, and 

Then Germanus rejoiced, and bade Eudocia be of good 
courage, and continue in the good path she had elected to 
walk in. 

Now, when the time of her preparation was over, 
Eudocia was baptized by the bishop, Theodotus, and when 
the sacrament of illumination had been administered, she 
went home and made an inventory of all that she had, and 

* & 


March i.] 5*. Eudocia. 5 

sent it to the bishop. And when Theodotus had looked at 
it he went to her house, and said, " What is this little book 
that thou hast sent me ?" And she answered, " This is the 
list of all my precious things, which I pray thy holiness to 
order the steward of the Church to receive of me, and 
distribute, as seemeth fitting, to those that have need." 
Then the bishop did as he was desired, and the Church 
treasurer came, and collected, and disposed of all her costly 
things. It may interest some to know what these were. 
Besides money, and jewels, and pearls, of which there was 
great store, he carried off two hundred and seventy-five 
boxes of silk dresses, and four hundred and ten chests of 
linen, one hundred and sixty boxes of gowns embroidered 
with gold, one hundred and fifty cases of dresses with 
jewelled work, one hundred and twenty-three large chests 
of various garments, twelve boxes of musk, thirty-three of 
Indian storax, a large number of silver vessels, several silk 
curtains ornamented with gold bullion, satin curtains, and 
many other things too numerous to mention. 1 

Now, as soon as all her valuables had been distributed to 
the most needy, Eudocia, still in her white baptismal robe, 
departed into the desert to a convent of thirty nuns directed 
by Germanus, the monk, who had been the means of con- 
verting her. And never did she change the colour or 
character of her garment till her dying day ; only in winter 
she put over it a sack-cloth gown to her ankles, and a 
hooded cloak of the same material. 

Thirteen months after her admission, the superior of the 
convent died, and Germanus appointed the penitent Eudocia 
to be superior in her room. 

There was a young man, who had been a lover of Eudocia, 

1 The wealth of some of the harlots of olden times was enormous. Phryne 
offered to rebuild the walls of Thebes at her own cost if allowed to inscribe on 
them, "What Alexander, the conqueror, pulled down, Phryne, the harlot, set 


6 Z-K/^f of the Saints. [March i. 

who was greatly vexed at her conversion, and resolved, 
partly out of passion, and partly out of love of adventure, 
to seek her out in her seclusion, and entice her back into 
the world of pleasure. To accomplish his object he as- 
sumed a monastic habit, and went to the convent, and 
tapped at the door. The portress partly opened the win- 
dow, and, peeping through it, asked who was there. Then 
the man answered, after the manner of monks, " I am a 
sinner, and seek to communicate in your prayers and bene- 
dictions." Then the sister answered, " Thou art mistaken 
in coming here. No men are admitted into the house. 
But go on thy way, and thou wilt find a monastery governed 
by the blessed Germanus j he will take thee in." Then she 
shut the window in his face. 

The young man, whose name was Philostratus, made his 
way to the monastery of Germanus, and he found the old 
man sitting in the porch, reading. He fell at his feet, and 
declared himself a sinner, who desired to amend his life. 
Germanus looked hard at him, and a certain wantonness of 
the eye made him hesitate about receiving him. " We are 
all old men here," said he ; " and are not the proper ad- 
visers and guides of a hot-headed, fire-blooded youth. Go 
elsewhere my son, and get a director who is nearer thine 
age." " My father !" exclaimed the dissembler, " How 
cans't thou reject me, after that thou hast received Eudocia. 
She has passed through the fires of temptation such as 
assail youth, and could well advise me. Let her give me 
some counsel, and I will go my way strengthened thereby." 

Germanus had acted somewhat injudiciously in appointing 
a reclaimed harlot to be superior of a sisterhood after only 
thirteen months' probation ; he now committed another in- 
discretion in allowing the strange monk ingress into the 
convent But he was guileless himself, and thought no evil 
of another, so he listened to the petition of Philostratus, 

i _ * 

March i.j 6\ Eudocia. 7 

and calling to him the monk who offered the incense in the 
convent, and was, therefore, allowed to enter it, bade him 
take with him the stranger, and give him audience of the 
superior. So Philostratus was led back to the convent, and 
the door was opened, and he was admitted into the room of 
Eudocia, some of the sisters standing afar off, according to 
the rule of the house, to witness the meeting, though out of 
hearing of the conversation. Then Philostratus looked at 
the sordid room, and the horsehair cover thrown over the 
pallet bed, and the haggard cheeks and sunken eyes of his 
former mistress, and he burst forth into entreaties that she 
would leave this wretched life of constant self-watching and 
self-denial, and return to the gaiety of city life, smart 
gowns, and pearl necklaces, cosdy feasts, and obsequious 
admirers. " All Heliopolis awaits thee," he urged, " ready 
once more to lavish on thee its gold and its adulation ; re- 
turn once more to the raptures and liberty of a life of 

But she had chosen that better part which was not to be 
taken away from her, and she resisted all his persuasion, 
and dismissed him, startled, humbled, and resolved to lead 
a better life. 

So far the story of Eudocia is natural and devoid of im- 
probabilities. But the Greek writer was not content to 
leave it thus deficient in marvels, and he has added several 
chapters of fanciful adventures, as insipid as they are un- 
true ; and the contrast they make with the earlier portion 
of the history, and of the final chapter, points them out as 
an interpolation. In this interpolation Eudocia converts 
" King " Aurelian at Heliopolis, and appears before the 
governor, Diogenes, armed only with a particle of the Holy 
Eucharist, which she bears in her bosom. The king orders 
her to be stripped, and when she has been divested of her 
clothes, till the Host is exposed, then the B. Sacrament is 

# * 


Lives of the Saints. 

[March i. 


suddenly transmuted into a blazing fire, which consumes the 
governor and all the bystanders, and an angel veils modestly 
the naked shoulders and bosom of Eudocia. 

The sudden extinction of a governor could hardly have 
been passed over by profane history had it really occurred, 
and, therefore, the falsifier of the Acts found it advisable to 
revive him. Accordingly, Eudocia is represented as taking 
the charred corpses by the hand and restoring them in- 
stantly to perfect soundness. 

But putting aside this absurd story, which is to be found 
repeated ad nauseam in almost all the forged and falsified 
Greek Acts of martyrdoms, with slight variations, we pass 
to the last chapter of the Life, which simply narrates the 
execution, by the sword, of Eudocia in her convent, by 
order of Valerius, the governor, without any sermons, in- 
flated declamations, and theological disquisitions, such as 
usually accompany corrupted, interpolated acts, and are an 
invariable feature in forgeries. 


(4TH CENT.) 

[Greek Menaea, and Menologium of the Emperor Basil. Inserted in the 
Roman Martyrology by Baronius. Authority : The account in the 

Anton in a is said to have lived in the city of Nicsea, in 
the reign of Maxentius. On account of her refusal to offer 
incense to the gods she was stripped of her clothes, hung 
up, and her sides torn with rakes. Then she was thrust 
into a sack, or earthen vessel (it is uncertain which), and 
was drowned in a lake near the city. A head and body are 
shown at Bologna as those of S. Antonina, " but whether of 
this one or of another we are not able to divine," say the 



March i.] ,5*. Domnina. 

Bollandists. A curious instance of the facility with which 
some forgeries may be detected is connected with S. Anton- 
ina. Canisius published an edition of the Greek Menolo- 
gium in the 16th century; in it occurred a mistake. S. 
Antonina was stated to have suffered at Caea, a misprint for 
Nicsea. Shortly after, the Jesuit, Hieronymus Romanus de 
Higuera, forged a chronicle of Flavius Dexter, Bishop of 
Barcelona, in the 4th century. He had seen the Menolo- 
gium of Canisius, and, as there was a Ceija in Spain, he 
inserted S. Antonina in his Spanish Chronicle as having 
suffered there, and this blunder was partly the means of the 
detection of the forgery. 

(about a.d. 460.) 

[Greek Menologium. Authority : Theodoret.] 

Theodoret, after relating the virtues of S. Maro the 
hermit, (Feb. 14th) goes on to tell of a holy virgin, named 
Domnina, who lived in a small shed, and attended prayers 
in the Church at cock-crow. She was emaciated with con- 
tinuous fasting ; she neither looked at any one, nor suffered 
her own face to be seen. Whenever she took the hand of 
Theodoret, the bishop, to kiss it, he drew it away moistened 
with her tears. She spent her time, when not engaged in 
prayer, in ministering to the necessities of travellers. 



io Lives of the Saints. [March i. 



(a.d. 589.) 

[Roman, Irish, Scotch, and ancient Anglican Martyrologies. His 
festival was celebrated in England with rulers of the choir, and nine lessons. 
Pope Callixtus II. ordered him to be venerated throughout the Christian 
world. There are no very ancient accounts of S. David. The oldest is a 
life existing in MS. at Utrecht, which was not known to Usher or Colgan. 
Usher cites Ricimer, Giraldus, and John of Tynemouth, a Durham 
priest, who collected the Acts of the English, Scottish, Welsh, and Irish 
Saints, and who lived in 1360. Ricimer was Bishop of S. David's about 
1085, and died about 1096. His life of S. David seems to have been the 
foundation of all subsequent biographies of that saint. Several MSS. of 
this life are extant ; and a portion of it containing matter not found in the 
life of the same saint by Giraldus Cambrensis, was printed by Wharton 
in the Anglia Sacra. Giraldus Cambrensis wrote his life of S. David about 
1177. S. Kentigern (d. 590) mentions S. David, and there are numerous 
allusions to him in the lives of contemporary Welsh and Irish saints.] 

S. David, or Dewi, as the Welsh call him, was born 
about 446, at Mynyw, which was named S. David's after 
him. His father was Sandde, son of Ceredig, who was the 
son of Cunedda, the great conqueror of N. Wales. His 
mother's name was Non; she was the daughter of Gynyr 
of Caergawch. Giraldus says he was baptized at Porth 
Clais by Alveas, Bishop of Munster, "who by divine 
providence had arrived at that time from Ireland." The 
same author says he was brought up at "Henmenen," 
which is probably the Roman station Menapia. 

S. David was educated under Iltyt at Caerworgon. He 
was afterward ordained priest, and studied the Scriptures 
for ten years with Paulinus near S. David's in Pem- 
brokeshire. He then retired for prayer and study to 
the Vale of Ewias, where he raised a chapel, and a cell 
on the site now occupied by Llanthony Abbey. The river 
Honddu furnished him with drink, the mountain pastures 
with meadow-leek for food. His legendary history states 



March p. 10.] 

[March I. 


March i.] S. David. I I 

that he was advised by an angel to move from under 
the shadow of the Black Mountains to the vale of Rhos, 
and to found a monastery at Mynyw, his birth place. 

He built a monastery on the boggy land which forms 
nearly the lowest point of that basin-shaped glen : on, or 
near its site stands the present Cathedral of S. David. 
He practised the same rigorous austerities as before. Water 
was his only drink, and he rigorously abstained from 
animal food. He devoted himself wholly to prayer, study, 
and to the training of his disciples. He, like many other 
abbots at that time, was promoted to the episcopate. A 
wild legend makes him to have started on a pilgrimage to 
Jerusalem, and to have received consecration at the hands 
of the patriarch John III. This tale was invented by 
some British monk to show that the Welsh bishops traced 
their succession to the oldest, if not the most powerful, of 
the patriarchates. Except when compelled by unavoidable 
necessity he kept aloof from all temporal concerns. He 
was reluctant even to attend the Synod of Bre6. This 
was convened by Dubricius about 545 at Llandewi Brefi, in 
Cardiganshire, to suppress the Pelagian heresy, which was 
once more raising its head. The synod was composed of 
bishops, abbots, and religious of different orders, together 
with princes and laymen. Giraldus says, "When many 
discourses had been delivered in public, and were in- 
effectual to reclaim the Pelagians from their error, at length 
Paulinus, a bishop with whom David had studied in his 
youth, very earnestly entreated that the holy, discreet, and 
eloquent man might be sent for. Messengers were there- 
fore despatched to desire his attendance : but their im- 
portunity was unavailing with the holy man, he being so 
fully and intently given up to contemplation, that urgent 
necessity alone could induce him to pay any regard to 
temporal or secular concerns. At last two holy men, 

* $ 

12 Lives of the Saints. [March i. 

Daniel and Dubricius, persuaded him to come. After his 
arrival, such was the grace and eloquence with which he 
spoke, that he silenced the opponents, and they were 
utterly vanquished. But Father David, by common con- 
sent of all, whether clergy or laity, (Dubricius having 
resigned in his favour), was elected primate of the Cambrian 
Church." Dubricius retired to the Isle of Bardsey. 

A beautiful yet wild legend tells us : " While S. David's 
speech continued, a snow white dove descending from 
heaven sat upon his shoulders ; and moreover the earth on 
which he stood raised itself under him till it became a hill, 
from whence his voice was heard like a trumpet, and was 
understood by all, both near and far off: on the top of 
which hill a church was afterwards built, and remains to 
this day." 

S. David in late times was fabled to have been Arch- 
bishop of Caerleon upon Usk, and to have transferred 
his seat to the quiet retreat of Mynyw. There is not a 
particle of evidence to show that he was either an arch- 
bishop, or even a bishop, at Caerleon. He was abbot 
and bishop at once at his monastery in the extreme west 
of that promontory extending between S. Bride's Bay 
and the Irish Channel. From it in the evening lights 
the hills of Wicklow are visible. The place was, more- 
over, sufficiently remote as to be safe from the attacks 
of the Saxons. 

In 569 he attended a synod, which exterminated the 
Pelagian heresy, and was in consequence named "The 
Synod of Victory." It ratified the canons and decrees 
of Brefi, as well as a code of rules which he had drawn 
up for the regulation of the British Church, a copy of 
which remained in the Cathedral of S. David's until it 
was lost in an incursion of pirates. Giraldus says : " In 
his times, in Cambria, the Church of God flourished 



March i.] 

6". David. 13 

exceedingly, and ripened with much fruit every day. 
Monasteries were built everywhere ; many congregations 
of the faithful of various orders were collected to cele- 
brate with fervent devotion the Sacrifice of Christ. But 
to all of them Father David, as if placed on a lofty 
eminence, was a mirror and pattern of life. He informed 
them by words, and he instructed them by example; as 
a preacher he was most powerful through his eloquence, 
but more so in his works. He was a doctrine to his 
hearers, a guide to the religious, a light to the poor, a 
support to the orphans, a protection to widows, a father 
to the fatherless, a rule to monks, and a path to seculars, 
being made all things to all men that he might bring all 
to God." 

He founded several churches .and monasteries. The 
supposition that Wales was first divided into dioceses 
in his time is destitute of any grounds. 

Geoffrey of Monmouth states that he died in his monas- 
tery at Mynyw, i.e., S. David's, where he was honourably 
buried by order of Maelgwn Gwynedd. This event is 
recorded by him as if it happened soon after the death 
of Arthur, who died 542. According to the computations 
of Archbishop Usher, S. David died 544, aged 82. The 
Bollandists agree with Usher on the date of his death, 
but there are reasons that lead us to hold that David 
was born between 495 and 500, and that he died in 


Numerous legends have gathered round the history of 

S. David. Thus an angel is said to have foretold his birth 

thirty years before to his father in a dream. "On the 

morrow, said the angelic voice, thou wilt slay a stag by a 

river side, and will find three gifts there, to wit, the stag, a 

fish, and a honeycomb. Thou shalt give part of these to 

the son who shall be born thirty years hence. The honey- 



14 Lives of the Saints. 

[March i. 

comb proclaims his honied wisdom, the fish, his life on 
bread and water, the stag his dominion over the old 
serpent." The mention of the stag doubtless arose from 
the old fancy that that animal kills serpents by trampling on 
them : thus did David trample the Pelagian heresy under 
foot. When S. Patrick settled in the vale of Rhos, a voice 
bade him depart, for it was reserved for the abode of a 
child who should be born thirty years after. 

At his baptism, S. David splashed some water on to the 
blind eyes of the bishop who was baptizing him, and re- 
stored their power of sight. His schoolfellows at " Hen- 
menen " saw a dove teaching him, and singing hymns with 
him. After studying with Paulinus, he journeyed to 
Glastonbury. He was intending to dedicate afresh the 
church which had been, re-built, when the Lord appeared 
to him in a dream, and told him that He had already dedi- 
cated it : as a sign that He had spoken unto him He pierced 
the saint's hand with His fingers. So our saint contented 
himself with building a Lady Chapel at the east end. He 
is said to have founded twelve monasteries on this journey. 
He returned to Wales, and then established a monastery 
at Mynyw, which was soon filled with monks and disciples. 
They worked hard with their own hands in the fields ; they 
harnessed themselves to the plough instead of using oxen 
for that purpose ; they tended bees that they might have 
some honey to give to the sick and the poor. The bees 
became so attached to one monk, Modemnoc, that they 
followed him on board ship when he was about to set sail 
for Ireland. He returned to the monastery and made 
several attempts to embark unobserved by his winged 
friends; but all his efforts failed. So at last he asked 
S. David's leave to take them with him ; the saint blessed 
the bees, and bade them depart in peace, and be fruitful 
and multiply in their new home. Thus Ireland, where bees 

* * 

*- * 

March i.] 6*. David. 15 

had been hitherto unable to live, was enriched by their 

He opened many fountains in dry places, healed many 
brackish streams, raised many dead to life, and had many 
visions of God and of Angels. In one of these visions he 
was warned that he should depart, March 1st. Thenceforth 
he was more zealous in the discharge of his duty : on the 
Sunday before his death he preached a sermon to the 
assembled people, and after consecrating and receiving the 
Lord's Body, he was seized with a sudden pain : then turn- 
ing to the people he said, " Brethren, persevere in the 
things which ye have heard of me : on the third day hence 
I go the way of my fathers." On that day, while the 
clergy were singing the Matin Office, he had a vision of his 
Lord ; then, exulting in spirit, he exclaimed, " Raise me 
after Thee." With these words he breathed his last. 

He was canonized by Pope Callixtus II., a.d. 1120; 
who is also said to have granted an indulgence to all those 
who made a pilgrimage to his shrine. Three kings of 
England William the Conqueror, Henry II., and Ed- 
ward I. are said to have undertaken the journey, which 
when twice repeated was deemed equal to one pilgrimage 
to Rome ; whence arose this saying : 

" Roma semel quantum, dat bis Menevia tantum." 

A noble English matron, Elswida, in the reign of Edgar, 
transferred his relics, probably in 964, from S. David's to 

S. David's plain but empty shrine stands now in the 
choir of S. David's Cathedral to the north of Edward 
Tudor's altar tomb. 

* * 

* # 

1 6 Lives of the Saints. [Marchi 


(ABOUT A.D. 5 49-) 

[S. Albinus seems to have enjoyed an amount of popularity as a saint 
which it is difficult to account for. Besides receiving great veneration at 
Angers, where his feast is a double, and in Brittany, where it is a semi- 
double, in Gnesen, in Poland, it was observed as a double. His name 
appears in most Martyrologies, as those of Usuardus, Hrabanus, Wandel- 
bert, &c. Authority: His life written by Fortunatus, a priest, his 

S. Albinus, or S. Aubin, as he is called in France, 
belonged to an ancient family at Vannes, in Brittany. 
He embraced the religious life in the abbey of Cincillac, 
called afterwards Tintillant, near Angers. At the age of 
thirty-five, in the year 504, he was chosen abbot, and 
twenty-five years afterwards, bishop of Angers. In the 
3rd Council of Orleans, in 538, he caused the thirtieth 
canon of the Epaone to be revived, which declared ex- 
communication to those who contracted marriage within the 
first or second degree of consanguinity. His life is singularly 
devoid of incident which could mark it off from that of 
many another abbot and bishop, and it is therefore difficult 
to account for his undoubted popularity in France in 
ancient times. 



(a.d. 713.) 

[Ado, Usuardus, Molanus, Belgian, and Cologne Martyrologies, 
Gallican and Roman Martyrologies. Authorities : Bede, lib. v. c. ia ; 
and the life of S. Willibrod. There exists a forged life of S. Swibert, 
under the name of Marcellinus, which was composed in the 15th century, 
and which is undeserving of attention. S. Swibert is called the Elder to 

4f * 

l _ X 

March i.] , Swibert. 17 

distinguish him from S. Swibert, B. of Verden, in Westphalia, in 807, 
(April 30) ; there was also another Swibert about 750, abbot in Cumber- 
land, mentioned by Bede. Many writers have confounded together 
S. Swibert the Elder, and S. Swibert the Younger.] 

S. Swibert was a Northumbrian monk who had been 
trained under S. Egbert, whom he accompanied to Ireland. 
Egbert desired greatly the conversion of Friesland, but was 
unable himself to attempt it, and his zeal communicated 
itself to his disciple Swibert, and when S. Willibrord 
sailed in 690 for that country, Swibert, at Egbert's desire, 
accompanied him. They landed at the mouth of the 
Rhine, at Katwyck, and Willibrord established his head 
quarters at Utrecht Two years before, Pepin l'Herstall had 
conquered Radbod, king of Frisia, and had obliged him 
to ask peace, and abandon to the mayor of the palace his 
most important possessions, amongst others the whole basin 
between the Meuse and the Rhine, where stand now the 
town of Ley den, Delft, Gouda, Brill, and Dortrecht, as well 
as the city of Utrecht 

Finding it difficult to make headway against the super- 
stitions of paganism, Willibrord appealed to the authority 
of Pepin, who sent Willibrord to Rome to receive mission 
and benediction for his work from the Holy See. On his 
return, success declared for the apostles, and four years 
after, Pepin sent Willibrord again to Rome with letters 
praying the pope to ordain him bishop to the nation he 
had converted. Pope Sergius consecrated him in 696, and 
Willibrord fixed his see at Utrecht, of which he was the 
first bishop. In the meantime, Swibert had been labouring 
in Hither Friesland, or the southern part of Holland, the 
northern part of Brabant, and the counties of Guelders 
and Cleves, with great success. In 697, Swibert was in 
England, probably in quest of fellow-helpers for the harvest, 
for the fields were white thereto, and he received episcopal 

vol. in. 2 
* g, 

1 8 Lives of the Saints. [March u 

consecration from the hands of S. Wilfred of York, then in 
banishment from his see. Swibert, invested with this sacred 
character, returned to his flock, and committing them to 
the care of S. Willibrord, penetrated further up the Rhine, 
and preached to the Boructarii, a people living below 
Cologne, with success. But the Saxons invading the 
country, swept away his work, and he retired into the islet 
of Kaiserwerth in the Rhine, which Pepin had given him, 
where he founded a monastery, which flourished for many 
ages, till it was converted into a collegiate church of secular 

His relics were found in 1626, at Kaiserwerth, in a silver 
shrine, and there are preserved and venerated. 


(A.D. 874.) 
[Aberdeen Breviary.] 

S. Adrian, bishop of S. Andrews, trained the holy man 
from his childhood, and appointed him to be his arch- 
deacon. He afterwards sent him to preach the Gospel in 
the island of May, at the mouth of the Frith of Forth ; he 
then went into Fife. The Church suffered severely from the 
incursions of the Northmen who ravaged the coasts, burning 
churches and monasteries, robbing them of their sacred 
vessels, and carrying off the unfortunate people captive. 
S. Monan is said by Butler to have been martyred by these 
invaders, but this is inaccurate. There is no evidence that 
he died any other than a peaceful death. He was buried 
at Inverny. 

t& , 

S. RUDKSIND. After Cahier. 

March, p. 18.] 

[March I. 


March i.] ^kS*. Leo & Rudesind. 19 


(ABOUT A.D. 900.) 

[Gallican Martyrology ; on this day at Bayonne. By Saussaye and 
Ferrarius on March 3rd. Authority : Two lives of no greAt antiquity, 
one written shortly after 1293.] 

Leo, Gervase, and Philip, were the three sons of pious 
parents in the North of France; Leo was elected to be 
archbishop of Rouen, but resigned his government of the 
diocese into the hands of vicars, and betook himself with 
his two brothers to Bayonne, where Christianity had made 
but small progress, much heathen superstition remained, 
and a colony of Moors had settled there. He was well 
received, and succeeded in making many converts, but was 
killed by some pirates who had lived in the town, but had 
been ejected by the citizens on account of their nefarious 
deeds. According to the legend, a spring of water bubbled 
up where S. Leo fell, and he arose and carried his head to 
the place where he had last been preaching. 

He is represented in Art, at Bayonne, where he is greatly 
venerated, as a bishop, holding his head in his hands. 


(A.D. 977.) 

[Spanish and Benedictine Martyrologies. Office with twelve lections in 
the Coimbra Breviary. His translation is observed on Sept. 1st. Au- 
thority : A life by Brother Stephen of Cella-nuova, about 1180.] 

The Blessed Rudesind was the son of a Count Gutierre 
da Mendenez, in Gallicia. His mother is said to have had 
a foretoken of the sanctity of the child that was about to be 
given her, whilst praying in the Church of S. Salvador on 
Mount Corduba. When the child was born, she desired 


20 ZzZ/? Of the SaintS. [March i. 

to have him baptised in the church, but as there was no 
font there, one had to be brought up the hill in a cart. 
The cart broke down, says the popular legend, how- 
ever, the font continued its journey without it. The 
child grew up to be a good man, and he was appointed to 
the bishopric of Dumium, a see which has ceased to exist. 
His kinsman, Sisnand, bishop of Compostella, was a 
scandal to the Church, " spending all his time in sports, 
excesses, and vanities, and paying no attention to his 
duties." Wherefore, at the request of the king, Sancho, 
and the nobles and people, Rudesind undertook the 
government of it, and Sancho put Sisnand in prison. During 
the absence of the king against the Moors, the Normans 
invaded Gallicia, whereupon the bishop called together an 
army, marched against them, and drove them back to 
their ships, and then turned his arms against the Moors, 
und routed them. On the death of Sancho, Sisnand 
escaped from prison, attacked Rudesind on Christmas 
night, whilst engaged with the canons in the sacred offices, 
and threatened him, sword in hand, unless he resigned the 
see. Rudesind at once laid aside his office, and retired 
into a monastery, where he assumed the habit, and after 
some years was chosen abbot. 

Lichfield Cathedial. dee page 23. 
* j, 

% _ * 

March .j Martyrs under Alexander. 21 

March 2. 

SS. Martyrs, under the Emperor Alexander at Rome, circ. a.d. 219. 

SS. Jovinus and Basileus, MM. at Rome, circ. a.d. 258. 

SS. Ductus, B.M., Absalom, Lakgius, Herolus, Primitius, and 

Januarius, MM. at Caesarea in Cappadocia. 
SS. Paul, Heraclius, Secundola, Januaria, and Luciosa, MM. 

in the Port of Rome. 
S. Simplicius, Pope of Rome, a.d. 483. 
S. Joavan, P. at S. Paul de Leon, 6tk. cent. 
SS. Martyrs, under the Lombards, in Italy, circ, a.d. 579. 
S. Ceadda, or Chad, B. of Lichfield, a.d. 672. 
S. Willeich, P. at Keiser-iverdt, on the Rhine, circ. a.d. 716. 
B. Charles the Good, M., Count of Flanders, a.d. 1117. 


(CIRC. A.D. 219.) 

EARLY all the Latin Martyrologies commemo- 
rate these martyrs, without giving their names. 
Baronius added to the Roman Martyrology, 
BJ that they suffered under Ulpian the prsefect ; 
this was a conjecture of his, for Ulpian was bitterly hostile 
to the Christians, and it was under him that S. Martina 
(Jan. 1 st) suffered. Alexander himself, only seventeen when 
he came to the throne, was of mild disposition, and the 
reins of government were in the hands of his mother 
Mamaea, who, with the approbation of the senate, chose 
sixteen of the wisest and most virtuous senators as a council 
of state, and at the head of this placed the learned Ulpian, 
a prudent governor, and severe disciplinarian, who could 
not brook that certain citizens should worship God in any 
way than that of the established religion, and looked on 
Christianity as a dangerous political element in the state, 
which demanded extirpation. 

* -* 


22 Lives of the Saints. [March a. 

(a.d. 483.) 

[Roman Martyrology. Authorities : Evagrius, Hist. Eccl. , and his 
own letters.] 

S. Simplicius was born at Tivoli, and succeeded S. 
Hilary in the papal throne, in 468. He strongly resisted 
the Emperor Leo, who desired to elevate the patriarch of 
Constantinople to the second rank in the Church, above 
the patriarchs of Antioch and Alexandria. He was also 
engaged in controversy with Acacius of Constantinople 
concerning the appointment of Peter Mongus to the see of 
Alexandria. After having governed the Church in most 
difficult and stormy times, Simplicius died on March 2nd, 
in the year 483 ; and was buried in S. Peter's. 

(6th cent.) 

[Venerated in Brittany. Authorities : A Life by Albert Le Grand, and 
the lections of the Church of S. Paul de Leon. Albert Le Grand wrote 
his life in 1623, from old MSS. histories and legends preserved at Leon in 
his time.] 

This saint was an Irishman by birth, and nephew of 
S. Paul of Leon. He studied with his uncle in Britain, and 
then returned to Ireland, but hearing that S. Paul had 
gone into Brittany, he departed for that country, and after 
having passed his noviciate in the monastery of Llanatere- 
necan, under S. Judulus, he departed to Le'on, and received 
priest's orders from his uncle, who appointed him to the 
isle of Baz. He is patron of two parishes in the diocese of 
S. Paul de Leon. 


* * 

March a.] .S. Chad. 2$ 


(CIRC. A.D. 579.) 

[Roman Martyrology. Authority : The Dialogues of S. Gregory the 
Great, lib. iii.J 

The Lombards in their ravages of the North of Italy put 
to death forty husbandmen, who refused to eat meats they 
had offered to their idols, and about four hundred who 
refused to pay reverence to the head of a goat, which they 
regarded with a peculiar veneration. 

(a.d. 672.) 

[Roman, Anglican, Scottish, and Irish Martyrologies. Authorities: A 
life is given by Bede, lib. 3, cap. 23, 24, 28 ; Lib. 4, cap. 2, 3, also in a 
MS. printed in the Monasticon, and a Metrical Life attributed to Robert 
of Gloucester.] 

S. Chad or Ceadda was, perhaps, the youngest of the 
four brothers, Cedd, Cynebil, and Celin, all of whom were 
eminent priests. Our saint has sometimes been confounded 
with his brother Cedd, bishop among the East Saxons, 
whose life was related on January 7th. We know neither 
the date nor the place of his birth. It is certain he was an 
Angle, and a native of Northumbria, and that he flourished 
in the 7th century, though Dempster wishes to claim him as 
a Scottish, and Colgan as an Irish, saint. The date 620 
a.d. has been suggested as the probable time of Chad's 

Bede tells us that S. Chad was a pupil of Aidan. That 
bishop required the young men who studied with him to 
spend much time in reading Holy Writ, and to learn by 
heart large portions of the Psalter, which they would 
require in their devotions. 

* * 

* . * 

24 Lives of the Saints. [March . 

At the death of Aidan, in 651, he went to Ireland, which 
was then full of men of learning and piety. The ravages 
of the Teutonic hordes on the continent had driven thither 
many illustrious foreigners. Then Ireland was fulfilling the 
mission ascribed to the Celtic race, that of supplying the 
link between Latin and Teutonic civilization. S. Chad, 
while in Ireland, made the acquaintance of Egbert, who 
was afterwards abbot of Iona. 

Cedd had, at the request of Ethelwald, King of Deira, 
established a monastery at Lastingham, in Yorkshire. It 
stood just on the edge of that wide expanse of moorland 
which extends thirty miles inland from the coast. 

Bishop Cedd returned thither from his diocese of Lon- 
don many years after, at a time when a plague was raging. 
He caught it, and whilst lying on his death-bed, bequeathed 
the care of the monastery to his brother, Chad, who was 
still in Ireland. 

S. Chad, on his return, ruled the monastery with great care 
and prudence, and received all who sought his hospitality 
with kindness and humility. One day a stranger arrived at 
the gate, praying to be received into the brotherhood. This 
was Owini, lately steward of Queen Ethelreda. Tradition 
relates that as he pursued his toilsome journey from the 
fens which surrounded the abbey of Ethelreda into York- 
shire, the pilgrim erected crosses by the roadside to guide 
any burdened souls who might hereafter seek the same 
haven of rest. While quietly keeping the strict rule of S. 
Columba at Lastingham, our saint was summoned to the 
episcopate by King Oswy, of Northumbria. 

But we must go back a little in our history. When the 
decision of the council or parliament, held at Whitby, in 
664, was adverse to the Keltic rite, Cedd renounced the 
customs of Lindisfarne, but Colman, bishop of Lindisfarne, 
obstinately holding to them, withdrew from Northumbria 

* # 


March, p. 24.] 

[March 2. 

March a .] 6". Chad. 25 

into Scotland with all those who were willing to follow him. 
Tuda succeeded him in the pontificate of Northumbria, 
but died soon after. 

" In the meanwhile," says Bede, " King Alchfrid (of 
Deira) sent Wilfrid the priest to the king of the Gauls, to 
have him consecrated bishop for himself and his subjects. 
Now he sent him to be ordained to Agilbert, of whom we 
said above that he left Britain, and was made bishop of the 
city of Paris. Wilfrid was consecrated, a.d. 665, by him 
with great pomp ; many bishops coming together for that 
purpose in a village belonging to the king (Clothair III. of 
Neustria) called Compiegne. While he was still making 
some stay abroad, after his ordination, king Oswy, following 
the example of his son, sent to Kent a holy man of modest 
character, sufficiently well read in the Scriptures, and dili- 
gently carrying out into practice what he had learnt from 
the Scriptures, to be ordained bishop of the Church at 
York. Now this was a priest named Ceadda (Chad), 
brother of the most reverend prelate Cedd, of whom we 
have made frequent mention, and abbot of the monastery 
called Lastingham. The king also sent with him his own 
priest, Eadhed by name, who was afterwards, in the reign 
of Egfrid, made bishop of the Church of Ripon. But 
when they arrived in Kent, they found that Archbishop 
Deusdedit had departed this life, and that no other prelate 
was as yet appointed in his place. Whereupon they turned 
aside to the province of the West Saxons, where Wini was 
bishop, and by him the above-mentioned person was conse- 
crated bishop ; two bishops of the British nation, who kept 
Easter Sunday according to canonical custom from the 14th 
to the 20th day of the moon, being associated with him ; 
for at that time there was no other bishop in all Britain 
canonically ordained, except Wini. 

" Chad then, being consecrated a bishop, began at once 

* 4< 

26 Z.WW 0/" /^ Saints. [March a . 

to devote himself to ecclesiastical truth and to chastity ; to 
apply himself to the practice of humility, continence, and 
study ; to travel about, not on horseback, but after the 
manner of the apostles, on foot, to preach the gospel in the 
towns, the open country, cottages, villages, and casdes ; for 
he was one of the disciples of Aidan, and endeavoured to 
instruct his hearers by the same actions and behaviour, ac- 
cording to his master's example and that of his own brother 
Cedd. Wilfrid also, who had already been made a bishop, 
coming into Britain, a.d. 666, in like manner by his doc- 
trine brought into the English Church many rules of 
Catholic observance. Whence it came to pass that the 
Catholic institutions daily gained strength, and all the Scots 
that dwelt in England either conformed to these or returned 
into their own country." 

This is Bede's account of the consecration of Wilfrid and 
Chad. At that time the diocese of York comprised the 
whole of Northumbria, including the south of Scotland. 
Under Oswald the see of Lindisfarne the Iona of the 
Anglo-Saxons was founded, containing within its jurisdic- 
diction the kingdom of Bernicia, until the establishment by 
Theodore of another see at Hexham. The writer of 
Wilfrid's life tells us that he objected to being consecrated 
by the English bishops, inasmuch as they were converts to 
the Scottish calculation regarding the celebration of Easter, 
or had received consecration from those who were of that 
opinion. Though Wini, who had been consecrated in Gaul, 
cannot be placed in either of these classes, yet Wilfrid 
knew he would summon to assist him two bishops who be- 
longed to one of them; hence his preference for Gaul. 
Wilfrid's delay in Gaul, perhaps, excited the King's suspi- 
cions that he, like his friend Agilbert, was seeking a mitre 
there ; or it may be that the king, influenced by the Scottish 
party (who could not forgive Wilfrid for the victory he 

* * 

9 $ 

March .] 5". C&Zdf. 27 

gained over them at Whitby), consented to the election of 
Chad to the see. 

Chad has been severely censured for accepting the 
bishopric under these circumstances. It may be, however, 
that he, stirred by sorrow at seeing the diocese left without 
a head, and doubting too, perhaps, whether Wilfrid would 
return, adopted this course, which may be condemned as 

S. Chad is commemorated in some Breviaries as an arch- 
bishop. But he was only a bishop, for that dignity had 
fallen into abeyance from the time that Paulinus fled into 
Kent But though no suffragans acknowledged Chad as 
their superior, he had ample scope for the most abundant 
energy. We have given above Bede's account of his un- 
tiring labours ; let us now hear that of the metrical Life 
attributed to Robert of Gloucester. 

He endeavoured earnestly, night and day, when he had thither come, 

To guard well holy Church, and to uphold Christendom. 

He went into all his bishopric, and preacht full fast, 

Much of that folk, through his word, to God their hearts cast, 

All afoot he travelled about, nor kept he any state, 

Rich man though he was made he reckoned there of little great 

The Archbishop of York had not him used to go 

To preach about on his feet, nor another none the mo, 

They ride upon their palfreys, lest they should spurn their toe, 

But riches and wordly state doth to holy Church woe. 

Theodore, the new archbishop of Canterbury, arrived in 
England in a.d. 669. " Soon after," says Bede, " he visited 
the whole island, wherever the tribes of the Angles dwelt, 
for he was willingly entertained and heard by all persons ; 
and everywhere he taught the right rule of life, and the 
canonical custom of celebrating Easter. He was the first 
archbishop whom all the English Church obeyed. 

Visiting Northumbria, he charged Chad with not being 
duly consecrated. The saint replied with great humility, 

* # 




Lives of the Saints. 

[March a. 

" If thou knowest that I have not duly received the episco- 
pate, I willingly resign the office, for I never thought myself 
worthy of it ; but, though unworthy, I consented to under- 
take it for obedience sake." Theodore hearing his humble 
answer, said that he should not resign the episcopate, but 
he himself completed his ordination again after the Roman 
manner. He probably advised Chad to resign his see to 
Wilfrid, for we next hear of our saint in retirement at 

In 669, Jaruman, bishop of the Mercians, died. King 
Wulfhere asked Theodore to send them a bishop. The 
archbishop did not wish to consecrate a fresh one, so he 
begged King Oswy to let Chad, who was then at Lasting- 
ham, be their bishop. Theodore knowing that it was Chad's 
custom to go about the work of the gospel on foot, rather 
than on horseback, bade our saint ride whenever he had a 
long journey to perform, but, finding Chad unwilling to 
comply, the archbishop with his own hands lifted him on 
horseback, for he thought him a holy man, and obliged him 
to ride wherever he had need to go. 

Though Chad was bishop of Lindisfarne for so short a 
time, he left his mark on the affections of the people, for 
we find that at least one chantry was dedicated in his name 
at York Minster. Soon after his election to the bishopric 
of the Mercians, he set out for Repton in Derbyshire, 
where Diuma, the first bishop of the Mercians, had estab- 
lished his see. 

Whether our saint desired a more central position for the 
episcopal see, or was influenced by the wish to do honour 
to a spot enriched with the blood of martyrs, Bede does 
not tell us, but Chad established the Mercian see at Lich- 
field, then called Licetfield, or the Field of the Dead, 
where one thousand British Christians are said to have been 
put to death. 



* -* 

March a.] S. Chad. 2<) 

His new diocese was not much less in extent than that 
of Northumbria. It comprised seventeen counties, and 
stretched from the banks of the Severn to the shores of the 
German Ocean. Theodore, years afterwards, detached 
from it the sees of Worcester, Leicester, Lindesey (in Lin- 
colnshire), and Hereford. Though it was far beyond the 
power of one man to administer it effectually, yet Bede 
witnesses that " Chad took care to administer the same 
with great rectitude of life, according to the example of the 
ancients. King Wulfhere also gave him land of fifty 
families to build a monastery at the place called Ad Barve, 
i.e., * At the wood,' in the province of Lindesey, wherein 
monks of the regular life instituted by him continue to this 
day." "Ad Barve" is conjectured by Smith, of Durham, to 
be Barton-on-Humber, where there is still standing a very 
ancient church, admitted by Rickman to be partly Saxon, 
dedicated to S. Peter. 

After fixing his see at Lichfield, Bede tells us " he built 
himself a habitation not far from the Church, wherein he was 
wont to pray and read with seven or eight of the brethren, 
as often as he had any spare time from the labour and 
ministry of the Word. When he had most gloriously 
governed the Church in that province two years and a half, 
in the dispensation of the Most High Judge, there came 
round the time of which Ecclesiastes speaks. " There is a 
time to cast stones, and a time to gather them together," 
for a deadly sickness sent from heaven came upon that 
place, to transfer, by the death of the flesh, the living 
stones of the Church from their earthly abodes to the 
heavenly building. And after many of the Church of 
that most reverend prelate had been taken out of i the 
flesh, his hour also drew near wherein he was to pass out 
of this world to our Lord. It happened that one day, 
Owini, a monk of };reat merit, the same that left his worldly 

4f , 



Lives of the Saints. 

[March 1, 


mistress to become a subject of the heavenly king, at Last- 
ingham, was busy labouring alone near the oratory, where 
the bishop was praying, the other monks having gone to 
the Church, this monk, I say, heard the voice of persons 
singing most sweetly, and rejoicing, and appearing to de- 
scend from heaven. He heard the voice approaching from 
the south-east, till it came to the roof of the oratory, where 
the bishop was, and entering therein, filled the same and all 
about it. After a time he perceived the same song of joy 
ascend from the oratory, and return heavenwards the same 
way it came, with inexpressible sweetness. Presently the 
bishop opened the window of the oratory, and, making a 
noise with his hand, ordered him to ask the seven brethren 
who were in the church, to come to him at once. When 
they were come, he first admonished them to preserve the 
virtue of peace among themselves, and towards all the 
faithful, also to practise indefatigably the rules of regular 
discipline, which they had either been taught by him or 
seen him observe, or had noticed in the words or actions of 
the former fathers. Then he added that the day of his 
death was at hand : ' For,' said he, ' that amiable guest who 
was wont to visit our brethren, has vouchsafed to come to 
me also to-day, and to call me out of this world. Return, 
therefore, to the church, and speak to the brethren, that 
they in their prayers recommend my passage to the Lord, 
and that they be careful to provide for their own, the hour 
whereof is uncertain, by watching, prayer, and good works.' 
When they, receiving his blessing, had gone away in sorrow, 
Owini returned alone, and casting himself on the ground 
prayed the bishop to tell him what that song of joy was 
which he heard coming to the oratory. The bishop, bid- 
ding him conceal what he had heard till after his death, 
said, ' They were angelic spirits, who came to call me to 
my heavenly reward, which I have always longed after, and 


* j * 

March a.j .S". Chad. 3 1 

they promised they would return seven days' hence, and 
take me away with them.' His languishing sickness in- 
creasing daily, on the seventh day, when he had prepared 
for death by receiving the Body and Blood of our Lord, 
his soul being delivered from the prison of the body, the 
angels, as may justly be believed, attending him, he de- 
parted to the joys of heaven. 

" It is no wonder that he joyfully beheld the day of his 
death, or rather the day of our Lord, which he had always 
anxiously looked for till it came; for notwitstanding his 
many merits of continence, humility, teaching, prayer, 
voluntary poverty, and other virtues, he was so full of the 
fear of God, so mindful of his last end in all his actions, 
that, as I was informed by one of the brothers, who in- 
structed me in divinity, and who had been bred in his 
monastery, whose name was Trumhere, if it happened that 
there blew a strong gust of wind, when he was reading or 
doing anything else, he at once called upon God for mercy, 
and begged it might be extended to all mankind. If it 
blew stronger, he, prostrating himself, prayed more earnestly. 
But if it proved a violent storm of wind or rain, or of 
thunder and lightning, he would pray and repeat Psalms in 
the church till the weather became calm. Being asked by 
his followers why he did so, he answered, ' Have ye not 
read, ' The Lord also thundered in the heavens, and the 
Highest gave forth His voice ; yea, He sent out his arrows 
and scattered them, and he shot out lightnings and discom- 
fited them.' For the Lord moves the air, raises the winds, 
darts lightning, and thunders from heaven to excite the 
inhabitants of the earth to fear Him ; to put them in mind 
of the future judgment ; to dispel their pride and vanquish 
their boldness, by bringing into their thoughts that dreadful 
time when, the heavens and the earth being in a flame, He 
will come in the clouds with great power and majesty, to 

* iff 

* ; * 

32 Lives of the Saints. [March a. 

judge the quick and the dead. Wherefore it behoves us to 
answer His heavenly admonition with due fear and love.' 

" Chad died on the second of March, and was first buried 
by S. Mary's Church, but afterwards, when the Church of 
the most Holy Prince of the Apostles, Peter, was built, his 
bones were translated into it. In both which places as a 
testimony of his virtue, frequent miraculous cures are wont 
to be wrought The place of the sepulchre is a wooden 
monument, made like a little house covered, having a hole 
in the wall, through which those that go thither for devotion 
usually put in their hand and take out some of the dust, 
which they put into water and give to sick cattle or men to 
drink, upon which they are presently eased of their infir- 
mity and restored to health." 

We have told the life of S. Chad in the reverent language 
of Bede, who, as he says, had some of the details direct 
from those who had studied under the saint. Though 
his episcopate was short, it was abundantly esteemed by the 
warm-hearted Mercians, for thirty-one churches are dedi- 
cated in his honour, all in the midland counties, and either 
in or near the ancient diocese of Lichfield. The first 
church ever built in Shrewsbury was named after him, and 
when the old building fell, in the year 1788, an ancient 
wooden figure of the patron escaped destruction, which is 
still preserved in the new church. The carver has repre- 
sented him in his pontifical robes and a mitre, with a book 
in his right hand, and a pastoral staff in his left. 

His well is shown at Lichfield. There was one in London 
called Chad's Well, the water of which was sold to vale- 
tudinarians at sixpence a glass. Doubtless, from the miracles 
alleged to have been wrought by mixing a little dust from 
his shrine with water, he got the character of patron saint 
of medicinal springs. At Chadshunt there was an oratory 
and well bearing his name. The priest received as much 




March 2 .] S. Chad. 33 

as ;i6 a-year from the offerings of pilgrims. Chadwell 
one source of the New Riyer is, perhaps, a corruption for 
S. Chad's Well. 

No writings of our saint have survived, but in Lichfield 
Cathedral library there is a MS. of the 7 th century in 
Anglo-Saxon character, containing the Gospels of S. 
Matthew, S. Mark, and part of S. Luke, which is known 
by the name of Chad's Gospel. 

Among the Bodleian MSS. there is an Anglo-Saxon 
homily for S. Chad's day, written in the Middle Anglian 
dialect, which stretched from Lichfield to Peterborough. 

His relics were translated from the wooden shrine to the 
cathedral, when it was rebuilt by Bishop Roger, in honour 
of SS. Mary and Chad. In 1296, Walter Langton was 
raised to the see of Lichfield. He built the Lady Chapel, 
and there erected a beautiful shrine, at the enormous cost 
of ^2,000, to receive the relics of S. Chad. This was 
spared by Henry VIII. 

His emblem in the Clog Almanacks is a branch. Per- 
haps this was suggested by the Gospel, viz., S. John v., 
formerly read on the Feast of his Translation, which 
speaks of the fruitful branches of the vine. This translation 
was formerly celebrated with great pomp at Lichfield, on 
August 2nd. 

As long as the virtues of chastity, humility, and a for- 
saking all for Christ's sake are esteemed among men, the 
name of the apostle of the Mercians ought not to be for- 

A beautiful legend formerly inscribed beneath the 
cloister windows of Peterborough, recorded the con- 
version of King Wulfhere's sons, Wulfade and Rufine, 
by S. Chad, and their murder by their father, for he 
had turned heathen again in spite of the entreaties of 
Queen Ermenild : 

vol. in. 3 



* * 

34 Lives of the Saints. [March *. 

By Queen Ermenild had King Wulfere 
These twey sons that ye see here. 
Wulfade rideth as he was wont, 
Into the forest the hart to hunt ; 
Fore all his men Wulfade is gone, 
And sought, himself, the hart alone. 
The hart brought Wulfade to a well, 
That was beside Seynt Chaddy's cell. 
Wulfade asked of Seynt Chad, 
Where is the hart that me hath led ? 
The hart that hither thee hath brought, 
Is sent by Christ, that thee hath bought. 
Wulfade prayed Chad, that ghostly Leech, 
The faith of Christ him for to teach. 
Seynt Chad teacheth Wulfade the feyth, 
And words of baptism over him seyth. 
Seynt Chad devoutly to mass him dight, 
And hoseled Wulfade Christy's knight. 
Wulfade wished Seynt Chad that day, 
For his brother Rufine to pray. 

The legend goes on to say that Rufine was baptized also 
by the saint The king's steward, Werbode (who had been 
rebuked by the two princes for seeking the hand of their 
sister, Werburga), told Wulfere of their becoming Christians, 
and that they were then praying in S. Chad's oratory. The 
king took horse thither at once, and slew them both with 
his own hand. Stung with remorse, he fell ill, and was 
counselled by his queen to ask Chad to shrive him. As a 
penance the saint told him to build several abbeys, and 
amongst the number he completed Peterborough Minster, 
which his father had begun. This legend is told with very 
full and touching details in a Latin version printed in the 
Monasticon. 1 

The Latin version is this. King Wulfere, son of Penda 
the Strenuous, had been baptized many years before by B. 
Finan, and promised at the font, and again when he wedded 

1 Many of these details of S. Chad's life are taken from Mr. Warner's excellent 
life of S. Chad. 

*" * 

* * 

March a.] .S". Chad. 35 

Ermenilda, of the royal house of Kent, to destroy all the 
idols in his realm. He neglected to do so, and let his 
three sons, Wulfade, Rufine, and Kenred remain un- 
baptized. His beauteous daughter, Werburga, had been 
dedicated to Christ as a virgin by the Queen ; yet, when 
Werbode, his chief councillor, and the chief supporter of 
idolatry in the realm, sought her hand in marriage, the 
king consented. The queen, Ermenilda, however, sharply 
rebuked him for his presumption. The brothers threatened 
him with their sore vengeance if he again preferred his low- 
born suit to their sister. Their disdainful words cost them 

While Chad was praying by a fountain near his cell, a 
hart, with quivering limbs and panting breath, leaped into 
the cooling stream. Pitying its distress, the saint covered 
him with boughs, then placing a rope round its neck, he 
let it graze in the forest. Wulfade came up, heated in the 
chase, and asked where the beast had gone. The saint 
replied, "Am I keeper of the hart? Yet, through the 
ministry of the hart I have become the guide of thy salva- 
tion. The hart bathing in the fountain foreshoweth to thee 
the laver of baptism, as the text says : As the hart panteth 
after the water-brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God." 

Many other things did the saint set forth about the min- 
istry of dumb animals to the faithful. The dove from the 
ark told that the waters were dried up. 

The young prince replied, " The things you tell me would 
be more likely to work faith in me if the hart you have 
taught to wander in the forest with the rope round its neck 
were to appear in answer to your prayers." The saint pros- 
trated himself in prayer, and lo ! the hart burst from the 
thicket The saint exclaimed, " All things are possible to 
him that believeth. Hear then, and believe the faith of 
Christ." The saint instructed him, and baptized him. The 

* * 

gh * 

36 Lives of the Saints. [March* 

next day he received the Eucharist, and went home, and 
told his brother Rufine that he had become a Christian. 
The other said, " I have long wished for baptism ; I will 
seek holy Chad." The brothers set out together. Rufine 
espying the hart with the cord round its neck, gave hot 
chase ; the animal made for the saint's cell, and leaped into 
the fountain as before. Rufine saw a venerable man pray- 
ing near. He said, " Art thou, my lord, father Chad, guide 
of my brother Wulfade to salvation ?" He answered, " I 
am." The prince earnestly desiring baptism, Chad bap- 
tized him, Wulfade holding him at the font, after the man- 
ner taught by holy Church. 

Then they departed, but returned daily to him. Wer- 
bode stealthily spied their ways and doings, and told their 
father that they had become Christians, and were then 
worshipping in Chad's oratory, adding that their conversion 
would alienate his subjects. The king set out in anger for 
the cell, the queen sending Werbode before to tell the princes 
of his approach, that they might hide. But Werbode only 
looked in at the window of the oratory, and saw them pray- 
ing earnestly. He returned to the king, and told him that 
his sons were obstinate in their purpose of worshipping 
Christ. The king, pale with anger, rushed towards the 
oratory. He threatened them with his vengeance for break- 
ing the laws of the land by becoming Christians, and bade 
them renounce Christ. Wulfade replied, " They did not 
want to break the laws, and that the king himself once pro- 
fessed the faith which now he renounced. They wished to 
retain his fatherly affection, but no tortures could turn 
them from Christ." The king rushed furiously upon him, 
and cut off his head. His brother, Rufine, fled, but his 
father pursued him, and gave him a mortal wound. Thus 
these two departed to celestial glory. Werbode was smitten 
with madness when they returned to the castle and told the 

* -* 

March .] 5". Chad. 37 

murder in the ears of all. The queen buried her sons 
honourably in one stone tomb, and withdrew with her 
daughter, Werburga, to the monastery at Sheppey, and then 
to that of Ely. 

The king, overcome with remorse, fell dangerously ill. 
The queen counselled him to seek out Chad, and confess 
to him. Wulfere took her advice, and starting one morn- 
ing with his thanes, as if to follow the chase, his attendants 
got scattered from him, and he was left alone. Soon he 
espied the meek hart with the rope round its neck ; he 
followed its track gladly, till he came to Chad's cell. The 
king, approaching the oratory, espied the saint saying mass ; 
he dared not enter till he had been shriven. When the 
canon began, so great a light shone through the apertures in 
the wall, that priest and sacrifice were covered with such 
splendour that the king was nearly blinded by it, for it 
was brighter than that of the natural sun. 

The saint knew what the king wanted, so when the office 
was ended he hastily put off his vestments, and, thinking 
to lay them upon the appointed place, unwittingly hung 
them upon a sunbeam, for the natural sun was now stream- 
ing through the window. He found the king prostrate before 
the door ; raising him up he heard the penitent's confession, 
and enjoined him as a penance, to root out idolatry, and to 
found monasteries. 1 He then motioned to the king that he 
should enter the oratory and pray. Wulfere, chancing to lift 
up his eyes, with wonder saw the vestments hanging on the 
sunbeam. He rose from his knees, and, drawing near, 
placed his own gloves and baldric upon the beam, but they 
immediately fell to the ground. The king understood by 
this that Chad was beloved by the Sun of Righteousness, 
since the natural sun paid him such homage. 

1 The reader will here recall the account of Lancelot and the Sacrlng In the Tower 
by Joseph of Arimathjea, in the Morte d' Arthur. 

* % 


* * 

38 Lives of the Saints. [March . 


(a.d. 1 1 27.) . 

[Hermann Greven and Molanus in their additions to Usuardus, Galesi- 
nius, Canisius, Saussaye, and the Belgian Martyrologies. Authorities : A 
life by a contemporary, Walter, archdeacon of Therouanne, another life by 
Gualbert of Bruges, written about two years after the death of the count, 
and another by Suger, abbot of S. Denys, d. 1151.] 

Charles the Good, Count of Flanders, the son of 
S. Canute, King of Denmark, and Adelheid, 1 daughter of 
Robert the Frisian, was taken to Bruges after the martyr- 
dom of his father, (see Jan. 19th), and received a careful 
education from Robert II., Count of Flanders, his uncle on 
his mother's side, who trained him to be a good knight, 
' without fear and without reproach/ and at the same time 
to be a good Christian. Charles distinguished himself by 
his bravery in the Holy Land, and in the war carried on by 
his uncle against the English, and after the death of 
Baldwin VII., who succeeded his father, Robert II., in 
ii 1 1, and died without issue, he was declared his successor 
by acclamation of the nobility and people, in accordance 
with the dying wish of his uncle. His elevation was not, 
however, acceptable to every party in the state, and his 
government, which began in the midst of plots, was brought 
to a close by one. 

He was married to Margaret de Clermont, sister of the 
Bishop of Tournai, and of the royal blood of France. 

On the sea-banks, in the midst of the sand-hills, living 
by piracy, and by fishing, were colonies of Flemings. 
Fumes is the centre of this district. It was held by 
Clemence of Burgundy, the widow of Count Robert II., 
as her dowry. She had married one of her nieces to 

1 Aleidis or Alice. 

* # 

* * 

March .] B. Charles tJie Good. 39 

King Louis VI., another to William de Loo, Viscount of 
Ypres, son of Philip, her brother-in-law. Consequently 
there were several ambitious and powerful parties ready to 
lay claim to the County of Flanders, and wrest it from the 
hands of Charles. 

The Flemings of the sea-coast rose, at the instigation of 
Cldmence, and were secretly favoured by the King of 
France ; whilst, at the same time, William de Loo asserted 
his claim. 

The feudal nobles desired to profit by these circum- 
stances, to increase their own power. One of them, God- 
frey of Louvain, married the dowager countess, Clemence. 
The Counts of Hainault, Boulogne, S. Pol, and Hesdin, 
took arms. Clemence took Audenarde, the Count of 
S. Pol invaded West Flanders, but Charles fell suddenly 
on them with an army, subjugated De Loo, deprived S. Pol 
of his castle, and the countess of her dowry, dispersed 
the armed men of Hainault, Boulogne, and Coucy, and as 
Walter of The'rouanne says, "The land held its tongue 
before him." The king of France was the first to strike an 
alliance with him. 

These successes excited the mistrust of the king of 
England and the emperor Henry V. The latter, under 
pretext of a war against the duke of Saxony, assembled an 
army in August n 24, crossed the Rhine, and marched 
towards Metz, threatening to destroy Rheims, where pope 
Callixtus II. had lately excommunicated him. In this 
imminent peril, all the vassals of the king rallied around 
Louis VI. " The noble Count of Flanders," says the abbot 
Suger, " brought with him ten thousand brave soldiers, and 
if there had been time, he would have brought thrice as 
many." In face of these preparations to resist his invasion 
the emperor withdrew to Utrecht On his death, all eyes 
turned to Charles, and the imperial crown was offered him. 

*- * 

* : * 

40 Lives of the Saints. [March . 

He refused it, as .he did also the crown of Jerusalem, 
offered him by the Christians in the Holy Land. He now 
devoted himself to the administration of his country with 
great zeal. He enacted wise laws, and laboured to make 
justice prevail in all the courts of judicature. Nevertheless 
a vague uneasiness prevailed amongst his subjects. The 
sea had overleaped the sand-hills, fires had broken out and 
consumed certain monasteries, and an eclipse of the sun 
gave prognostication of further evils. The winter of 1125 
was of unparalleled severity ; ice and snow prevailed till the 
rnd of March, and no sooner had the fields and woods 
begun to resume their verdant tints, than furious gales and 
a deluge of rain dissipated the hopes of the farmers. 
A dreadful famine ensued. " Some," says Gualbert, " per- 
ished before they could reach the towns and castles, where 
food was obtainable ; others died in extending their hands 
for alms. In all our land the natural colour of the face had 
become exchanged for the pallor of death. Despair was 
general, for those who were not themselves in want sick- 
ened with grief at the sight of such miseries." 

In these calamities the Count of Flanders exhibited more 
greatness than if he had reigned at Aachen, or at Jerusalem, 
He exempted the farmers from their taxes and rents, and 
required them to house and feed so many poor. At Ypres 
he distributed 1800 loaves in one day. He forbade the 
consumption of barley for the manufacture of beer, that it 
might be used for bread, and he ordered the immediate 
sowing of such vegetables as are of rapid growth. The 
ensuing winter was also severe, but with the spring the 
distress gave signs of alleviation, for the crops were 
abundant, and in the autumn plenty reigned once more. 
During the stress of famine, Charles learnt that Lambert, 
brother of Bertulf, dean of S. Donatus, at Bruges, had 
bought up all the grain of the monasteries of S. Winoc, 

March 2 .] B. Charles the Good. 41 

S. Bertin, S. Peter, and S. Bavo, together with all the 
foreign corn that had been brought into the ports from the 
Baltic, and was keeping it back so as to sell it at an enormous 
profit. Charles sent for Lambert and the dean, and bitterly 
reproached them. The Count sent one of his councillors, 
Tankmar van Straten, to examine the granaries of these 
two men, and they were found to be filled to overflowing 
with stored-up grain. Tankmar offered a reasonable price 
for the store, but it was indignantly refused by the avaricious 
men. He, therefore, by the Count's orders, insisted on 
their receiving it, and opening the granaries, distributed the' 
corn to the starving poor. This aroused the wrath of the 
brothers, who had powerful friends among the people of 
Furnes, and to avenge themselves, a project was formed to 
assassinate the prince. One day, as he was hearing mass 
in a chapel of the Cathedral of S. Donatus, at Bruges, 
one of the conspirators cut off his arm with a hatchet, and 
another clave his skull. His body was buried in the 
Church of S. Christopher, but was afterwards translated to 
the Cathedral of S. Donatus, where they remained till the 
period of the French Revolution, when the cathedral was 
levelled with the ground. The relics of the holy martyr 
were, however, preserved with respect, and on March 2nd, 
1827, seven hundred years after the death of Charles, were 
solemnly replaced above an altar in the Church of S. 
Sauveur, now used as the cathedral. The day of his festival 
attracts a great concourse of the faithful; those afflicted 
with fever especially come from all quarters to cure them- 
selves by drinking out of the skull of the Blessed Charles 
the Good. 

* * 



42 Lives oj the Saints. [March 3 . 

March 3. 

SS. Marinus, M., and Asterius, C. at Ctzsarea, circ. a.d. 260. 

SS. Felix, Castus, Luciolus, Florian, Justus, and Others, MM. 

in Africa. 
SS. Emetherius and Chelidonius, MM. at Calahorra, in Spain. 
SS. Basiliscus, Eutropius, and Cleonicus, MM. at Amasea and 

Comana, in Pontus, circ. a.d. 308. 
S. Camilla, V. R. at Ecoulives, near Auxerre, a.d. 437. 
S. N6n, W. in Wales, the Mother of S. David, circ. A.D. 460. 
S. Winwaloe, Ah. of Landevenec, in Brittany, 6th cent. 
S. Titian, B. of Brescia, circ. a.d. 526. 
S. Calupanus, H. at Clermont, a.d. 576. 
S. Kunegund, Emftss. V., Wife and Wid., at Bamberg, circ. a.d. 1040. 


(ABOUT A.D. 260.) 

[Usuardus, Ado, Notker, Bede, Wandelbert, and Roman Martyrologies. 
Authority : Eusebius, Hist. Eccl. lib. vii. c. 15, 16.J 

|EACE being restored to the Church," writes 
Eusebius, " Marinus of Caesarea, in Palestine, 
who was one of the army, distinguished for his 
military honours, and illustrious for his family 
and wealth, was beheaded for his confession of Christ, on 
the following occasion. There is a certain honour among 
the Romans, called the vine, which they who obtain are 
said to be centurions. A place becoming vacant, Marinus, 
by order of succession, was called to be promoted, but 
another, advancing to the tribunal, objected, saying that he 
was a Christian, and refused to sacrifice to the emperor, 
and therefore legally could not share in Roman honours ; 
but that the office devolved on himself, the objector, who 
was second on the list. The judge, whose name was 
Achaeus, roused at this, began first to question Marinus on 
his opinions ; and when he saw that he was constant in 
affirming that he was a Christian, granted him three hours 



Ifl * 

March 3.] .SVS*. Marinus & Asterius. 43 

for reflection. But as soon as he came out of the judgment 
hall, Theotecnus, bishop of that place, coming to him, took 
him by the hand, and drawing him to the Church, placed 
him before the altar, raised his cloak a little, and pointing 
to the sword at his side, at the same time that he presented 
before him the book of the Holy Gospels, told him to 
choose which of the two he would retain. Without hesi- 
tation, Marinus extended his hand and took the book. 
'Hold fast, then, hold fast to God,' said Theotecnus, 'and 
strengthened by him, may est thou obtain what thou 
choosest. Go in peace.' Immediately on his return thence, 
a crier proclaimed before the prsetorium that the ap- 
pointed time had elapsed. Marinus then was arraigned, 
and after exhibiting a still greater fervour for the faith, was 
led away and made perfect by martyrdom." 

" Mention is also made of the confidence of Asterius, a 
man of senatorial rank, in great favour with the emperors, 
and well known for his nobility and wealth. As he was 
present at the death of the above-mentioned martyr, taking 
up the corpse, he bore it on his shoulder in a splendid and 
costly dress, and covering it in a magnificent manner, gave 
it a decent burial." 

Asterius is venerated by the Greeks on August 7th as a 
martyr, who suffered decollation, and Marinus is not men- 
tioned by them. Eusebius says nothing of the martyrdom 
of Asterius, as he certainly would have done, had he died 
for Christ, for he says, " Many other facts are stated of this 
man by his friends, who are alive at present," and then he 
relates his counteracting by his prayers the drowning of 
a victim annually offered to the river Jordan. The Roman 
Martyrology, however, accepts the Greek tradition. " As- 
terius received the honour he rendered to the martyr, 
becoming himself a martyr ;" but perhaps the word martyr 
is here to be taken in the sense frequently given to it 


* * 

44 Lives of the Saints. [March 3. 

anciently, of a confessor, or witness to Christ, not neces- 
sarily by losing his life for his testimony, but only 
by imperilling it. 

(uncertain date.) 

[Commemorated in the Mozarabic Missal and Breviary ; the Evora and 
Toledo Breviaries, and as a double at Burgos and Leon ; Martyrology of S. 
Jerome, those of Usuardus, Ado, Notker, and the Roman Martyrology. 
Authority : A hymn of Prudentius, and Acts of no great antiquity, printed 
by Tamayus Salazar, and an Elogium by Gregory of Tours.] 

These martyrs were put to death with the sword at 
Calahorra, in Navarre, on the Ebro. According to the 
hymn of Prudentius, and the story of Gregory of Tours, on 
their execution, the ring of one martryr, and the stole 
(orarium) of the other, were caught up in a cloud, and 
ascended into Heaven. Probably this legend contains a 
reminiscence of an incident such as the wind wafting away 
some of the martyrs' garments during the execution. 

Relics at Calahorra. 


(ABOUT A.D. 308.) 

[By the Greeks on this day, but S. Basiliscus alone on May 22nd. Meno- 
logium of the Emperor Basil, Modern Roman Martyrology. Tamayus 
Salazar, trusting to the forged Flavius Dexter, claims them to be Spanish 
martyrs. This is a common trick of some Spanish hagiologists, who have 
appropriated all martyrs that are not, in Martyrologies, given a place of 
martyrdom, and the pseudo-Dexter simply mentioned these saints without 
saying that they were of Amasea and Comana; therefore Salazar audaciously 
says, " In Caspetana (Sierra di Guadalupe) in Spain, SS. Felix, Luciolus, 

* * 

March 3 .] 6\S. Basiliscus, &c. 45 

.... Cleontius, Eutropius, Basiliscus, who, in the persecution of 
Maximian, under Asclepiades, the Governor, endured torments, and the 
cross itself, and as martyrs ascended to Heaven." The forger of Flavius 
Dexter took the names from the modern Roman Martyrology, where the 
name of the place of martyrdom is not mentioned, and set them down as 
martyrs in some unknown city of Spain ; Salazar improved on the Pseudo- 
Dexter by planting them in the Sierra di Guadalupe. The life of S. Basi- 
liscus, if genuine, is by Eusignius, who knew the martyr, and was himself, 
probably, a martyr in the persecution afterwards, and is commemorated on 
August 5th. In the life are many passages which show that Eusignius 
was well acquainted with the facts he describes, such as " Christ accom- 
panied His martyr, as Basiliscus afterwards told me, Eusignius.'' He was 
eye-witness of the events ; he says, "As we approached the city, we heard, 

&c we tasted .... and when we went in, we heard we, 

to whom it was granted to see this terrible mystery .... we asked the 
speculator, and gave him thirty gold pieces, and he gave us the body, and 
we buried it, and we sowed vegetables .... and we went to rest." The 
Acts, if they are genuine, and not an impudent forgery, have undergone 
much interpolation. Some of these additions are apparent from a change 
of the "we" to " they " in the account of the journey to Comana.] 

In the reign of Maximian and Maximin, Agrippa was 
sent into Pontus, to be governor in the room of Ascle- 
piades, with orders to constrain all Christians to sacrifice. 
Basiliscus, Eutropius, and Cleonicus, three Christians of 
Amasea, were seized and thrown into prison. And when 
Eutropius and Cleonicus had suffered, the blessed Basiliscus 
with many tears prayed, saying, "O Lord Jesus Christ, 
remember me, even unto the end, and make my calling 
manifest unto all, that I may not be separated from these 
holy men who have been taken with me, and who have 
suffered before me, and are crowned I" Then the Lord 
appeared to him and said, " I will not forget thee. Thy 
name is written with those who have been with thee. But 
be not downcast because thou art last; for thou shalt 
precede many. But go, bid farewell to thy mother and thy 
brethren, and when thou returnest, thou shalt receive thy 
crown. Fear not the torments prepared for thee, for I 
shall be at thy side." 

4, * 



46 Lives of the Saints. [March 3 . 

Then Basiliscus asked, and prevailed on, the jailor to let 
him go to the village of Cumiala, near Amasea, where his 
mother lived, that he might say farewell to her. Now it 
fell out that early in the morning Agrippa unexpectedly sent 
for Basiliscus, and when he heard of the indulgence that 
had been granted him though soldiers had been sent as 
guards with the prisoner he was filled with rage, and 
threatened the jailor with capital punishment. Then he 
called to him a city officer named Magistrianus, a brutal 
fellow, implacable in his detestation of Christianity, and 
commissioned him to take a band of soldiers and convey 
Basiliscus to Comana, whither he himself was starting. 
Magistrianus mounted his ass, and ambled to Cumiala, and 
surrounded the doors of the house, as Basiliscus was parting 
with his mother and three brothers, before returning. Magis- 
trianus ordered a pair of boots to be put on Basiliscus, with 
the nails in them protruding, and then bade him limp along 
among the guards back to Amasea. The nails made his 
feet bleed, and as he walked through the street of Amasea 
a crowd gathered, murmuring against the tyranny of the 
governor and his satellites. Magistrianus, in a rage, leaped 
off his ass, and cudgelled the mob with the stick he had 
used to make the ass go, and the soldiers assisted him to 
disperse the crowd. Basiliscus was then led along the 
road to Comana, singing, " Though an host of men be set 
against me, yet shall not my heart be afraid ; for thou, O 
Christ, art with me !" 

At mid-day the party, which consisted of fifteen, came to 
a little village, and a lady's villa. The lady very courteously 
invited the officer and his men into the house to refresh 
themselves, and they tied Basiliscus with his hands behind 
his back to a plane tree in the court yard. A number 
of the villagers came up to stare at the martyr, who stood 
under the dry tree, suffering intensely from the heat, and 



*_ * 

March 3 .] .SVS". Basiliscus, &c. 47 

with blood dribbling from his wounded feet, "whilst 
Magistrianus and his folk were feasting in Trojana's house, 
on all kinds of delicacies, meats, and costly wines, served 
up in the cool summer dining hall," says Eusignius, bitterly. 

But God did not forget the poor martyr under the 
blazing mid-day sun, for the plane tree put forth leaves, 
and overshadowed him, and a fountain bubbled at his feet, 
and cooled and laved his festering wounds. 

On the party reaching Comana, Magistrianus led Basi- 
liscus direct to the temple of Apollo, where was the 
governor at the moment. 

The governor at once ordered him to be brought in. 
Basiliscus smilingly entered. " Why wilt thou not sacrifice, 
fellow ?" asked the governor. " Who told thee that I will 
not sacrifice ?" answered Basiliscus. " Ah ! the gods be 
praised ! thou wilt sacrifice then." 

" I will offer to God the sacrifice of praise." " Offer to 
whom you please," said the governor, sharply, "only 
sacrifice and have done with this folly." 

" Who is that ?" asked Basiliscus, pointing to the image 
of Apollo. " That is the god Apollo," answered Agrippa. 
" The name is appropriate enough," said Basiliscus, " for 
he brings to destruction all who trust in him." 1 Then he 
cried aloud to all in the temple, " Hearken, all men, to my 
prayer, to the Lord of Heaven and earth." And he prayed, 
" God, who art alone and true, with thine only-begotten 
Son, and the Holy Spirit ; who art invisible, incomprehen- 
sible, whom none can describe and include, who art good 
and merciful, and acceptest not the person of man, who 
createst the things that are out of that which is not, and 
enlightenest us who sat in darkness, and gavest us the 
bright knowledge of Thy deity : Thou art the helper of all 
them that trust in Thee. God, who art alone holy, and 

1 A pun in the Greek, impossible to translate. 
* * 


48 Lives of the Saints. [March 3 . 

dwellest in Thy saints, in me, thy humble servant, exhibit 
Thy mercy, and confirm my prayer, for I pray to Thee of 
Thy great goodness, Thou who spreadest out the heavens 
as a curtain, and by Thy command makest them fast, and 
adornest them with the bright shining stars, and with the 
glory of the sun, and the moon walking in brightness, and 
givest us the hours of day ; Thou didst make Thy sun a 
chamber, and gavest him everlasting limits, and didst set 
the moon to rule the course of time, and didst divide the 
hours and days and months ; Thou didst found the earth 
by Thy command, that it should be an habitation for man, 
and didst give to it an everlasting bound, and didst clothe it 
with trees and flowers ; Thou didst lay the sea and bound 
it by Thy precept, and madest a way over it ; and didst 
fashion man with Thine own holy hands after Thine image, 
and didst give him wisdom and reason, and didst breathe 
into his face the breath of life. Lord, who didst create the 
whole world, who from Adam till this present, and hereafter 
till endless ages, keepest those that love Thee, and glori- 
fiest those that fear Thee ! Lord Jesus Christ ! hear the 
prayer of Thy servant, and be present with me at this hour, 
and destroy this deaf, and dumb, and blind, and senseless 
idol ; break and dissolve this god made with hands, and 
shew to these heathen the madness of their worship, and 
Whom we worship and adore as God. Why do the heathen 
rage, and the people imagine a vain thing against Thy 
saints ? Look, O Lord, and keep not still silence, for thus 
behoves all honour and glory and magnificence to Thee, 
Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, through ages of ages. 

And when he had said Amen, there was an earthquake, 
and a thunder underground, and the temple shook to its 
foundations, and the image of Apollo fell and was broken. 
Then all who were in the temple fled, leaving Basiliscus 




March 3 .] .S". Winwaloe. 49 

alone with the broken idol at his feet And when the 
earthquake was past, the governor sent, and brought 
Basiliscus forth, and his head was struck off with the sword. 
The governor ordered the body to be thrown into the 
river, but Eusignius bribed the soldier who was carrying it 
away to let him have it, and he buried it in a field, and 
sowed herbs over it. S. Basiliscus died on July 21st. He 
appeared in vision to S. Chrysostom the night before that 
aged saint died; (see Jan 27th, p. 412.) 


(6th cent.) 

[Anglican Martyrologies ; Saussaye, in his Gallican Martyrology, the 
Belgian Martyrologies. His translation from the old wooden church at 
Landevenec, to a stone one, is commemorated on April 28th, and to 
Montreuil-sur-Mer, on August 1st. Authorities : Three Lives ; the first 
by an anonymous writer, given by the Bollandists, is full of fable. A life 
by Wrdestin, 9th cent., published by De la Borderie. Also a life by Albert 
le Grand is deserving of notice, but the historical particulars are not accurate. 
There is great difficulty about this saint. It is probable that there were 
two of his name, and only by this means can the very different accounts of 
his life be reconciled. One Winwaloe is a native of Brittany, and a dis- 
ciple of S. Corentine, and was translated to Montreuil. Another Win- 
waloe is a native of Britain, a disciple of S. Sampson, of Dol, and after- 
wards of S. Similian, abbot of Tauriac ; and his body lies at Ghent. M. 
Ch. Barthelemy, in his " Annales Hagiologiques de la France," 5th cent., 
claims for the first anonymous life to have been written by a disciple of 
Winwaloe. But this is more than improbable. It has none of the elements 
of a contemporary account. The writer says that the name of the mother 
of the saint was not known ; and he does not name his master in the 
religious life, S. Corentine or S. Budock, but calls him " a holy man," or 
" that man of God " ; and the life, like all late compilations, gives scanty 
details of persons and places, but abounds in fables. 1 ] 

Winwaloe was born about the year 455 ; his father was 
Fragan, related to Conan Meriadec. Fragan was governor 

1 The following is a specimen of the stories told by this author : Winwaloe had 
a sister at home, who was one day playing with the geese belonging to her father, 


* * 

* * 

50 Lives of the Saints. [March 3 . 

of Leon (Lyoness) and Cornouaille, under King Grallo, 
or Gradillon. Fragan married a noble widow named 
Gwen, of the Three Breasts, and resided with her at Les- 
ven, in the parish of Plougwen. By her he had a son, 
whom he called Gwenaloe, 1 or " He that is white," on 
account of his beauty. When Winwaloe was about fifteen 
years old he was given to a holy man, an old hermit, in 
the island of Lavre, together with his brothers, Gwethenoc 
and Jacut, and they lived together, serving God in the 
islet of Isle-vert. 

One day that Winwaloe was with his father, a fleet of 
pirates appeared off the coast, and hovered about the har- 
bour of Guic Sezne, near Lauvengat. S. Winwaloe is said in 
the popular tradition to have exclaimed on the occasion, Me 
a vel mil Guern, " I see a thousand sails ;" and a cross which 
commemorates the spot is called therefrom to this day, 
Croas al mil Guern, " the cross of the thousand sails." The 
pirates landed, but Fragan, having gathered his retainers, 
fell upon them and utterly defeated them. Many were cut 
to pieces, and a few escaped in their vessels. During the 
combat, Winwaloe, like a second Moses, prayed with 
fervour; and after the victory he exhorted his father to 
employ the spoil they had taken in building a monastery 
on the spot where the battle took place, in Isel-Vez, in the 
parish of Plou-Nevez. He did so, and the monastery was 
called Loc-Christ. 

After some years, Winwaloe left his master, and settled 

when one of them flew at her, pecked out, and swallowed her eye. The parents 
were in despair. Then an angel appeared to the holy boy, Winwaloe, and told 
him of the trouble. Winwaloe at once hastened home, singled out the guilty goose, 
sliced open its belly, removed the eye of his sister from its crop, and replaced it in 
his sister's head, and she saw as well as before. The boy then miraculously healed 
the goose, and dismissed it to rejoin the flock. After this he returned to his master 
and studies. 

* He is called Guennole, or Vignevale, in French. At Montreuil-sur-Mer, of 
which place he is patron, he is called S. Valois. His name has also been cor- 
rupted into Valvais and Vennole. 

* * 

* * 

March 3 .] 6". Winwaloe. 51 

in the island of Sein, off the Point du Raz ; but, finding it 
exposed to the full swell of the Atlantic, and to every gale, 
he was obliged to desert it, and found a more suitable place 
of settlement at Llandevenec, on the opposite side of the 
harbour of Brest, where he established a monastery, into 
which he gathered many disciples, and there, after many 
years, he died, standing at the altar, after having bestowed 
the kiss of peace on the brethren, on Saturday, the 3rd of 
March, in the first week in Lent ; a date which may be 
either 507, 518, or 529. 

Another version of the history of S. Winwaloe makes 
him to have been born in Wales, but this is untenable. 
Fragan and Gwen were from Wales. 

The body of S. Winwaloe is preserved at Montreuil-sur- 
Mer, whither it was translated through fear of the invasion 
of the Normans, after having first just found shelter at 
Ghent. The chasuble, alb and bell of S. Winwaloe, are pre- 
served in the Jesuit Church of S. Charles, at Antwerp. 

At the same time, the body of a S. Winwaloe is also at 
Blandinberg, near Ghent ; and the story told of this saint is 
in many particulars like that of the S. Winwaloe at Mon- 
treuil, but it differs in others. 

S. Winwaloe is represented in art vested as an abbot, with 
staff in one hand and bell in the other, standing by the sea, 
with the fish rising out of the water as if obeying the sum- 
mons of his bell. 



C2 Lives of the Saints. [March $. 


(ABOUT A.D. IO40.) 

[German, Cologne, Basle, and Roman Martyrologies ; also in the Bene- 
dictine Martyrology of Wyon. Proper offices in the Brussels, Passau 
Ratisbon, Salzburg, Frisingen, Bamberg, Eichstadt, Vienna, and other 
Breviaries. Her translation is celebrated on September 9th ; and her 
canonization on March 29th. At Bamberg she is again commemorated on 
August 1st. Her life was written after 1190. This life forms the Breviary 
lessons at Bamberg on March 3rd and August 1st. Other authorities are 
the historians of the time.] 

S. Kunegund, or Cunegundes, was the daughter of Sig- 
fried, count of Luxemburg, and Hedewig, his pious wife. 
She was married to S. Henry, duke of Bavaria. Her sister 
was married to Gerard, Count of Alsace. Her brothers 
were Henry, created, in 103, duke of Bavaria, when S. 
Henry was emperor ; Frederick, count of Luxemburg on 
the death of his father; Dietrich, bishop of Metz ; and 

On the death of the emperor Otho III., S. Henry was 
elected king of the Romans, and was crowned at Mentz 
on June 6th, 1002. Kunegund was crowned empress at 
Paderborn, on August 10th, in the same year. Immedi- 
ately on his coronation his cousin, the Margrave, Henry of 
Schwein-furt, demanded the dukedom of Bavaria, and his 
own brother, Bruno, made a similar claim. But the emperor 
refused to give it to either, and bestowed it on Henry, Count 
of Luxemburg, his wife's brother. The two disappointed 
competitors then conspired against him with Boleslas II., of 
Bohemia, but they were defeated by the emperor near 
Creusen, in 1003, and were pardoned. Adalbert, another 
brother of Kunegund, then expelled Megingod, archbishop 
of Treves, and seized on the diocese for himself, but the 
emperor deposed him, and restored the rightful archbishop. 

In 1013, Henry and Kunegund received the imperial 


I\ f / ' 


Empress of Germany. 

March, p. 52.] 

[March 3. 

If, >$t 

March 3 .] S. Kunegund. 53 

crown at Rome, from the pope. It was on this occasion 
that the pope bestowed on the emperor the golden ball, the 
emblem of the globe over which he was destined to rule. 
The imperial pair, it is said, had taken the vow of chastity, 
but of this there is no evidence. Kunegund's virtue, how- 
ever, did not escape slander, and she voluntarily underwent 
the ordeal by fire, and walked unharmed over glowing 
ploughshares to testify her innocence. 

S. Henry founded the bishopric of Bamberg, partly at 
the instigation of S. Kunegund, who obtained for the city 
such privileges, that it became a popular saying there, that 
Kunegund's silk threads defended Bamberg better than 
walls and towers. Pope Benedict VIII. visited Bamberg 
in 1020, for the purpose of consecrating the new establish- 
ment. Kunegund also built and endowed a Benedictine 
abbey for nuns, at Kaufungen, near Cassel. Before it was 
finished, in 1024, S. Henry died. On the anniversary of 
his death, in 1025. she assembled a great number of pre- 
lates to the dedication of her church at Kaufungen ; and 
after the singing of the gospel, she offered on the altar a 
piece of the true cross, and then put off her imperial robes, 
and clothed herself with a poor habit ; her hair was cut off, 
and the bishop put on her a veil, and a ring as a pledge of 
her fidelity to her heavenly Spouse. After she was conse- 
crated to God in religion, she seemed entirely to forget that 
she had been empress, and behaved as the last in the house, 
being persuaded that she was so before God. She feared 
nothing more than whatever could bring to her mind the 
remembrance of her former dignity. She prayed and read 
much, worked with her hands, and took a singular pleasure 
in visiting and comforting the sick. Thus she passed the 
fifteen last years of her life, never suffering the least prefer- 
ence to be given her above any one in the community. 
Her mortifications at length reduced her to a very weak 

* * 




Lives of the Saints. 

[March 3. 

condition, and brought on her last sickness. Her monas- 
tery and the whole city of Cassel were grievously afflicted 
at the thought of their approaching loss ; she alone appeared 
without concern, lying on a coarse hair-cloth, ready to give 
up the ghost, whilst the prayers of the dying were read by 
her side. Perceiving they were preparing a cloth fringed 
with gold to cover her corpse after her death, she ordered 
it to be taken away ; nor could she be at rest till it was 
promised that she should be buried as a religious in her 
habit. She died on the 3rd of March, 1040. Her body 
was carried to Bamberg, and buried near that of her hus- 
band. The greatest part of her relics still remains in the 
same church. She was solemnly canonized by Innocent 
III. in 1200. 

She is represented in art with the ploughshares at her 

Forms of Mitre 



* * 

March 4.] S. LUCIUS. 55 

March 4. 

S. Lucius, Pofic, M. at Rome, a.d. 253. 

SS. Nine Hundred Martyrs on the Appian Way, at Rome, circ. 

a.d. 260. 
S. Caius the Palatine, and xxvii. Companions, MM. at Rome. 
S. Owen, Mk. at Lastiugham, end of 7th cent. 
S. Basinus, B. of Treves, circ. a.d. 672. 
SS. Adrian, B. of S. Andrews, and Comp., MM. in the Isle of 

May, circ. a.d. 870. 
S. CASIMIR, Prince of Poland, A.D. 1484. 

(a.d. 253.) 

[Usuardus, Ado, Notker, Wandelbert, and Roman Martyrologies. Au- 
thorities : Eusebius, the letters of S. Cyprian, Anastasius Bibliothecarius, 
and a Life by Guaiserius, a monk, (nth cent.)] 

[AINT LUCIUS was a Roman by birth, and one 
of the clergy of that church under SS. Fabian 
and Cornelius. This latter having been crowned 
with martyrdom, in 252, S. Lucius succeeded 
him in the pontificate. The emperor Gallus having re- 
newed the persecution of his predecessor Decius, at least in 
Rome, this holy pope was no sooner placed in the chair of 
S. Peter, than he was banished, though to what place is un- 
certain. "Thus," says S. Dionysius of Alexandria, "did 
Gallus deprive himself of the succour of heaven, by expel- 
ling those who every day prayed to God for his peace and 
prosperity." S. Cyprian wrote to S. Lucius to congratulate 
him both on his promotion, and on having had grace to 
suffer banishment for Christ. Our saint had been but a 
short time in exile when he was recalled, to the great joy 
of his people, who went out of Rome in crowds to meet 
him. S. Cyprian wrote to him a second letter of congratu- 

* * 

* * 

56 Lives of the Saints. [March 4 . 

lation on this occasion. He says, " He had not lost the 
dignity of martyrdom because he had the will, as the three 
children in the furnace, though preserved by God from death ; 
this glory added a new dignity to his priesthood ; so that he, 
a bishop, assisted at God's altar, who could exhort his flock 
to martyrdom by his own example as well as by his words. 
By giving such graces to his pastors, God showed where his 
true Church was : for he denied the like glory of suffering 
to the Novatian heretics. The enemy of Christ only attacks 
the soldiers of Christ : heretics he knows to be already his 
own, and passes them by. We supplicate God the Father and 
His Son, our Lord, giving thanks and praying together, that 
He who perfects all may bring you to the glorious crown of 
your confession, who, perhaps, has only recalled you that 
your glory might not be hidden ; for the victim who owes 
his brethren an example of virtue and faith, ought to be 
sacrificed before their eyes." 

Eusebius says that Lucius did not occupy the pontifical 
throne for above eight months. He seems to have died on 
March 4th, under Gallus, but how we know not. His body 
was found in the Catacombs, and was laid in the church of 
S. Cecilia at Rome, where it is now exposed to the venera- 
tion of the faithful. Considerable portions of the body of 
S. Lucius, M., are preserved at Bologna, and a head, pur- 
porting to be that of S. Lucius, was anciently one of the 
great relics of Roeskilde Cathedral. But these must be the 
remains of other saints of the same name, and it was an 
error of the clergy of Bologna and of Roeskilde to assert that 
these relics belonged to the martyred pope. That such a mis- 
take may easily have been made is seen from the fact that two 
martyrs of the name of Lucius are commemorated on this 
day, the second being a companion of Caius the Palatine ; 
and six in January, and as many in February, not to men- 
tion those in the other months. In the Schleswig Breviary, 

* * 

x * 

March 4.] , Oweft. 57 

published in 15 12, the feast of S. Lucius, Pope, M., was 
observed on account of the presence of the head of a S. 
Lucius, M., at Roeskilde, with nine lessons at matins, of 
which the six first were taken from the account of the Life 
and Translation of S. Lucius the pope, made by pope 
Paschal in 812. 

(date uncertain.) 

[Bede, Usuardus, Ado, Notker, Roman Martyrology. The names o< 
the companions of S. Caius vary in the Martyrologies.] 

S. Caius, and twenty-seven fellow soldiers, suffered for 
the faith at Rome. Caius was an officer of the palace, but 
under what emperor is not known. He was drowned in 
the sea. 



[Anglican and Benedictine Martyrologies. Authority : Bede, Hist. 
Eccl., lib. iv. c. 3.] 

The venerable Bede says, " Owen was a monk of great 
merit, having forsaken the world with the pure intention of 
obtaining the heavenly reward ; worthy in all respects to 
have the secrets of our Lord revealed to him, and worthy 
to have credit given by his hearers to what he said ; for he 
came with Queen Etheldreda from the province of the East 
Angles, and was her prime minister, and governor of her 
household. As the fervour of his faith increased, resolving 
to renounce the world, he did not go about it slothfully, but 
quitting all he had, clad in a plain garment, and carrying an 
axe and hatchet in his hand, came to the monastery of 

* * 

58 Lives of the Saints [March 4 . 

S. Chad, at Lastingham : denoting that he did not go to the 
monastery to live idly, as some do, but to labour, and this 
he confirmed by his practice ; for as he was less capable of 
meditating on the Holy Scriptures, he the more earnestly 
applied himself to the labour of his hands. In short, he 
was received by the bishop into the house aforesaid, and 
there entertained with the brethren, and whilst they were 
engaged within in reading, he was without doing such things 
as were necessary. 

" One day, when he was thus employed abroad, and his 
companions were gone to the church, the bishop was alone, 
reading or praying in the oratory of that place, when, on a 
sudden, as he afterwards said, he heard voices singing most 
sweetly, and rejoicing, and appearing to descend from 
heaven. And this sound seemed to come from the south- 
east, and it afterwards drew nigh him to the oratory, where 
the bishop then was, and entering therein, filled the same 
and all around. He listened attentively to what he heard, 
and after about half an hour noticed the same strain of joy 
ascend from the roof of the oratory, and return to heaven 
the same way it came, with inexpressible sweetness. When 
he had stood some time wondering, the bishop opened the 
window of the oratory, and, making a noise with his hand, 
ordered him to come in to him. 

" Then the holy Chad told him that the day of his death 
was at hand, and that the angelic spirits had told him that 
in seven days they would return and take him with them. 
And so it was : seven days after, S. Chad entered into his 
rest." Nothing more is known of Owen. A stone cross 
put up by Owen remains at Ely, and is preserved in that 

* * 

March 4 .] SS. Basinus & Adrian. 59 

(about ad. 672.) 

[Treves and Cologne Martyrologies ; Molanus and Greven. Authority : 
His Life by Nizo, Abbot of Metloch (Mediolanum) on the Saar, nth 
cent., which is very untrustworthy.] 

Basinus, of the illustrious family of the Dukes of Aus- 
trasia, was received as monk into the monastery of S. 
Maximin, at Treves. He was afterwards made abbot, and 
later, when S. Numerian, bishop of Treves, was dead, he 
was constrained to assume the mitre in his room. He held 
the see in the reign of Childebert II., king of Austrasia. 
He was a friend of S. Willibrord. After his death, his 
body was laid in the basilica of S. Maximin, under the high 
altar. It was taken up in 162 1, and placed in a more 
conspicuous position. 

He was succeeded by his nephew, S. Lutwin. 


(ABOUT A.D. 870.) 
[Aberdeen Breviary. Authority : The Lections from the same.] 

S. Adrian, bishop of S. Andrews, in Scotland, was a 
native of Pannonia. He laboured to spread the faith 
among the Picts, together with his companions, Clodian, 
Caius, Monan, and Stobrand. As they were in the island 
of May, the Danish pirates landed in it, and put Adrian 
and Clodian to death. No reliance can be placed on the 
legend in the Breviary. 

* * 

$ * 

60 Lives of the Saints. [March 4 . 

(a.d. 1484.) 

[Roman Martyrology. Authorities : Zacharias Ferrier, Papal legate 
in Poland, A.d. 1525.] 

S. Casimir was the second son of Casimir III., king of 
Poland, and of Elizabeth of Austria, daughter to the 
emperor Albert II., a most virtuous woman, who died in 
1505. He was born in 1458, on the 5th of October. 
From his childhood he was remarkably pious and devout. 
His preceptor was John Dugloss, called Longinus, canon of 
Cracow, a man of extraordinary learning and piety, who 
constantly refused all bishoprics, and other dignities of the 
Church and state which were pressed upon him. Vladislas, 
the eldest son, was elected king of Bohemia in 147 1, and 
became king of Hungary in 1490. Casimir was the second 
son ; John Albert, the third son, succeeded his father in 
the kingdom of Poland in 1492 ; and Alexander, the fourth 
son, was called to the same in 1501. Casimir and the 
other princes were warmly attached to the holy man who 
was their preceptor ; but Casimir profited most by his pious 
maxims and example. He consecrated the flower of his 
age to the exercises of devotion and penance ; his clothes 
were plain, and under them he wore a hair shirt. He often 
slept upon the ground, and spent a considerable part of the 
night in prayer and meditation, chiefly on the passion of 
our Saviour. He was wont at times to go out in the night 
to pray before the church-doors, and in the morning waited 
before them till they were opened for matins. He was 
especially devout to the passion of our blessed Saviour, the 
very thought of which excited him to tears. He was no 
less piously affected towards the Sacrifice of the altar, at 

$ * 

March, p. 60.] [March 4. 

* * 

March 4 .] S. Casimir. 61 

which he always assisted with such reverence and attention 
that he seemed in raptures. And as a mark of his singular 
devotion to the Blessed Virgin, he composed, or, at least, 
frequently recited, the long hymn that bears his name, a 
copy of which was, by his desire, buried with him. His 
love for Jesus Christ showed itself in his regard for the 
poor, who are His members, to whose relief he applied 
whatever he had, and employed his credit with his father, 
and his brother, Vladislas, king of Bohemia, to procure 
them succour. 

The nobles of Hungary, dissatisfied with Matthias Cor- 
vinus, their king, son of the great Huniades, begged the 
king of Poland to allow them to place his son Casimir on 
the throne. The saint, then not quite fifteen years of age, 
was very unwilling to consent ; but in compliance with his 
father's will, he went at the head of an army of twenty 
thousand men to the frontiers in 147 1. There hearing 
that Matthias had formed an army of sixteen thousand men 
to oppose him, and that pope Sixtus IV. had sent an em- 
bassy to divert his father from the expedition, and finding 
that his soldiers were deserting him in great numbers, he 
joyfully returned. However, his conduct gave such offence 
to his father, whose ambition had been roused, that he was 
forbidden by him to enter Cracow, and ordered to take up 
his residence in the castle of Dobzki. After this, nothing 
would again induce him to resume the attempt, though 
again pressed by the Hungarians, and urged by his father. 
As the old Russian churches were falling out of repair, 
Casimir, with more zeal than discretion, persuaded his 
father to pass an edict forbidding the restoration and recon- 
struction of churches which did not belong to the Latin 

Falling into a decline, the physicians recommended that 
he should relax his rigid chastity, but the young prince in- 





Lives of the Saints. 

[March 4. 

dignantly refused to defile his virgin body on the chance of 
thus prolonging his life a few months ; and he died at the 
age of twenty-three, on March 4th, 1484, and was buried 
at Wilna, where his body is still preserved. 



(J, > 

March 5.] S. Gerasimus. 63 

March 5. 

S. Theophilus, B. ofCasarea, in Palestine, circ. a.d. 200. 

S. Adrian, M. at Ccesarea, in Palestine, a.d. 308 (see S. Eubulus, 

March jth). 
S. Phocas, M. at Antioch, in Syria, circ. A.D. 320. 
S. Gerasimus, Ab. in Palestine, a.d. 475. 
S. Kieran OR Piran, of Saigir, B. o/Ossory, circ. a.d. 55a. 
S. Virgilius, Abp. of Aries, qth cent. 
S Drausinus, B. o/Soissons, after a.d. 675. 
S. Peter de Castelnau, Mk. M. at S. Gilles, in the Narbonnaise, 

a.d. 1209. 
S. John-Joseph of the Cross, C. at Naples, a.d. 1734. 


(ABOUT A.D. 320.) 

[All the Latin Martyrologies, from the mention in which all that is 
known of him is derived.] 

j]T ANTIOCH, after many sufferings endured for 
the name of Christ, Phocas triumphed over the 
Old Serpent, a victory which is testified, to 
this day, by a miracle. For whoever is bitten 
by a serpent, having touched, full of faith, the door of the 
basilica of the martyr, is immediately cured, the poison at 
once losing its power " so says the Roman Martyrology. 

(a.d. 47S-) 

[Roman Martyrology. By the Greeks on March 4th and 20th. Au- 
thorities : Mention in the lives of S. Buthymius and S. Quiriacus, by Cyril 
the Monk, fl. 548.] 

S. Gerasimus embraced the monastic life in Lycia; he 
afterwards passed into Palestine, at a time when Eutychian- 

64 L ives of the Saints. [March s . 

ism prevailed, and he had the misfortune to embrace the 
errors of that heresy ; but S. Euthymius (Jan. 20th) visited 
him, and restored him to the unity of the faith. He 
expiated his error by the most rigorous fasting. He be- 
came very intimate with S. Euthymius, S. John the Silen- 
tiary, S. Sabas, and S. Theoctistus. 

A great number of disciples placed themselves under his 
conduct, and he built a laura near Jordan, consisting of 
seventy cells, amidst which was a monastery for the lodging 
of those who were to live in community, and disciplined 
those who afterwards occupied the hermitages of the laura. 
The anchorites assembled in the church on the Sabbath 
and the Sunday to participate in the sacred mysteries, and 
on these two days they ate common food that had been 
cooked, and drank a little wine j on other days they ate 
only bread and dates, and drank water. Fires were never 
lighted in the cells, and the hermits slept on rush mats. 

S. Gerasimus carried his abstinence further than his 
brethren. Throughout Lent he took no other nourishment 
than the Divine Eucharist. 

One day as the old abbot was walking on the banks of the 
Jordan, he saw a lion limping, and roaring with pain. The 
lion, instead of attempting to escape, held up its paw, 
which was much swollen, and Gerasimus taking it on his 
lap, examined it, and saw that a sharp splinter had entered 
the flesh. He withdrew the piece of reed, and bathed the 
paw. The lion afterwards gratefully followed him to his 
cell, and never after left him, but was fed by the abbot. 
There was an ass belonging to the monastery which brought 
water from the Jordan, for the necessities of the brethren ; 
and Gerasimus sent the ass out to pasture under the 
guardianship of the lion. One day the lion had gone away 
from his charge, and an Arabian camel driver passing by, 
stole the ass. In the evening the lion returned depressed 



March 5. j 6". Gerasimus. 65 

in spirits to the monastery, without the ass. Gerasimus 
naturally concluded that the lion had eaten the animal, and 
he cried out, " Sirrah, where is the ass ?" The lion stood 
still, and looked back over his shoulder. " You have eaten 
him !" said the abbot ; " Let us praise God. Well, what 
the ass did, you shall do now." And thenceforth the lion 
carried the water for the brethren. 

Now one day a certain soldier came to the monastery, 
and seeing the lion toiling under the water bottles, he pitied 
the lordly beast, and gave some money to the abbot to buy 
an ass on the next opportunity, and release the lion from its 
office of water-carrier. Some days after this, as the lion was 
near Jordan, there came by the driver who had stolen the 
ass, with three camels, and the stolen beast itself. The lion 
set up its mane and roared, and made towards the man, 
whereupon the driver took to his heels. Then the lion 
caught the end of the ass's halter, and drew it along with 
the camels to the door of the monastery. And thus the 
abbot learned that he was wrong in accusing his dumb 
friend of having devoured his charge. 

For five years the lion was the constant companion of 
the old abbot, going in and out among the monks ; and at 
the expiration of that time Gerasimus died. Now the lion 
was out when he departed to his rest ; but when the lion 
returned home, he went about searching for the old man. 
Then the abbot Sabbatius, a disciple of the dead saint, 
seeing the uneasiness of the lion, said to him " Jordan, (for 
by that name the lion was called), our old friend has gone 
away and left us orphans, and has migrated to the Lord ; 
but here is food, take and eat" But the lion would not. 
and paced to and fro seeking the dead man, and every now 
and then throwing up his head, and roaring. Then 
Sabbatius and some of the other brethren came and rubbed 
his neck, and said, " The old man is departed to the Lord, 

VOL. III. 5 


* * 

66 Lives of the Saints. [March $. 

and has left us." But this did not appease the lion ; and 
the more they caressed him, and spake to him, the more 
agitated he became, and the louder he roared, "showing with 
mouth and eyes how great was his distress, because he saw 
not the old man." 

Then the abbot Sabbatius said to him, " Come along 
with me, as you will not believe me, and I will show you 
where our old friend is laid." And he led the lion to the 
place where Gerasimus was buried ; and the abbot Sabba- 
tius, standing at the tomb, said, " See here is where he is 
buried." And then he knelt and wept upon the grave. So 
when the lion saw this, he went, and stretched himself on 
the grave, with his head on the sand, and moaned, and 
remained there, and would not leave the place, but was 
found there dead, a few days after. 

It is almost needless to say that this beautiful incident 
has given to the abbot Gerasimus his symbol of a lion, in 


(ABOUT A.D. 552.) 

[Irish Hagiologies, and an addition of Usuardus published in 1490. A 
saint of this name was venerated on this day in the Dumblane Breviary, but 
it is uncertain if it was the same. The Life of S. Kieran, published by 
Colgan, and that given by the Bollandists, are of late date, and like so 
many of the Acts of Celtic Saints, abound in fables.] 

According to the Irish legendary lives, Kieran of Saigir 
was bishop in Ireland before the arrival of S. Patrick. 
After honouring him with the title of the " first-born of the 
saints of Ireland," these lives proceed to inform us that his 
father was Lugneus, a noble of Ossory, and his mother 
Liadain, of Corcalaighde, (Carberry), in South Munster. 
S. Kieran was born in Cape Clear Island. Having spent 

March i.] S. Kieran or Piran. 67 

thirty years in Ireland still unbaptized, he heard of the 
Christian religion as flourishing at Rome, and went thither 
for the purpose of being instructed. There he was bap- 
tized, and remained twenty years, studying the Scriptures 
and canons, after which he was ordained bishop, and sent 
to preach in his own country. On his way to Ireland he 
met S. Patrick in Italy, who was not as yet a bishop, and 
who told Kieran that he would follow him to Ireland in 
thirty years from the date of their meeting. This must 
have happened in 402, and accordingly Kieran, being then 
fifty years old, was born in 352. When arrived in Ireland 
he was miraculously directed, as S. Patrick had told him he 
would, to the place since called Saigir, (Seir-Kieran, in 
King's County), where he erected a monastery. Having 
ordained an innumerable multitude of bishops and priests, 
he died at the age of 300 ! 

Other accounts state that Kieran's meeting with S. 
Patrick somewhere out of Ireland occurred several years 
after the latter had commenced his apostolical labours in 
this country. Jocelin places it at a time when S. Patrick 
was returning from Britain, whither he had gone to obtain 
a supply of additional helpers for his mission, and tells us 
that Kieran was then one of the six Irish priests who were 
proceeding to foreign countries for religious improvement, 
and all of whom afterwards became bishops in their own 
country. In the Tripartite history of S. Patrick the precise 
place of meeting is not given; but, what is more to the 
purpose, it is represented as having occurred at least twelve 
years after S. Patrick had begun his mission in Ireland, and 
Kieran is stated to have then received directions from the 
saint concerning the district in which he should erect his 

It appears, however, that' he was no disciple of S. Patrick 
at all, and did not live in his times. His name does not 



68 Lives of the Saints. [March j. 

occur in Tirechan's list, nor in any of the Lives of S. 
Patrick, except in those two just quoted, and his appear- 
ance in them is evidently due to the legends in circulation 
concerning the meeting. Had S. Kieran been a disciple of 
the apostle, how could he have become a scholar of S. 
Finnian of Clonard, in the 6th century? For such he is 
stated to have been, not only in the Life of S. Finnian, and 
in that of his illustrious namesake of Clonmacnois, but also 
in the tract which is called his first life, and which enters 
into more particulars than the other. S. Finnian's school 
could not have become celebrated before 534. In both 
Kieran's lives his namesake of Clonmacnois, who died in 
549, and the two Brendans, one of whom died in 577, and 
the other a few years earlier, are spoken of as having had 
transactions with him. 

We may then safely conclude that he belonged to the 
sixth century, became distinguished towards the middle of 
it, and died during its latter half. As this was known to be 
the case, his blundering biographers strove to reconcile 
their nonsense concerning the antiquity and privileges of 
Saigir, with the true date of his death, by making him die at 
the age of about 300 years, although, had they calculated 
better, about 220 years might have sufficed. 

Kieran, we may safely conclude, was made a bishop about 
the year 538. Having retired to a lonesome spot, since 
called Saigir, he led at first the life of a hermit, and after 
some time erected a monastery, around which a city 
gradually grew up. Next he established a nunnery in the 
neighbourhood for his mother Liadania, and some pious 
virgins, her companions, whence the church Killiadhuin 
got its name. Besides the care of his monastery, Kieran 
was assiduously employed in preaching the Gospel in 
Ossory, and he converted a great number of heathen. He 
is usually considered to have been the first bishop of 


. * 

March j.] ,5*. Kieran or Piran. 69 

Ossory, and founder of that see. It is singular that, not- 
withstanding all that is said in the lives, in praise of Kieran, 
he is not much spoken of in the accounts of contemporary 
saints, and that none of the Irish annals or hagiologies give 
the date of his death. Hence Colgan was inclined to think 
that he died in Cornwall, and is to be identified with 
S. Piran, of Peranzabulo. There can be no doubt that 
in Cornwall Kieran and Piran were regarded as one and 
the same person. 

If S. Piran of Peranzabulo be the same as S. Kieran 
of Saigir, his bones have been discovered of late years, 
when the ancient oratory of Peranzabulo, near Padstowe, 
in Cornwall, was dug out of the sand. In favour of 
this identification, Colgan points out that S. Piran was 
commemorated at Padstow on the 5 th March, the same 
day as S. Kieran in Ireland; and John of Tynemouth 
asserts that S. Kieran did retire from Ireland into Corn- 
wall, where he spent the latter part of his life, and died. 
The Cornish, moreover, change the K. of Irish names 
into P. 

Some of the legends related of S. Kieran deserve to be 
recorded. He is said when a little boy to have been 
bitterly distressed at seeing a hawk carry off a little bird in 
its talons. Then he cried to God, and the hawk dropped 
its prey. 

One day a king or chief in the neighbourhood carried off 
one of the nuns of the convent governed by his mother. 
Kieran pursued him full of wrath, and coming to the castle, 
bade the chief restore the poor maiden to her cell. "Not 
unless the cuckoo should rouse me to-morrow morning," 
answered the chief. Now it was mid-winter. But that 
night no snow fell round the house where lodged the abbot, 
and at early dawn a bird perched on the roof under the 
window of the chief, and began to call "Cuckoo, cuckoo, 

^ 4< 


7o Lives of the Saints. [March s. 

cuckoo I" Then the ravisher, in alarm, started from his 
bed, and restored the nun to her convent 

On an autumn day, Kieran noticed a magnificent bank of 
blackberries, so large and ripe, that he thought it a sad pity 
the winter should come and destroy them. Therefore he 
cast a cloak over the bramble. Now it fell out that the next 
ensuing April, Ethnea Uacha the wife of king ^Engus was ill, 
and felt a craving for blackberries. She was then, with her 
husband, the guest of Concraidh, king of Ossory. Con- 
craidh told S. Kieran of the strange wish of the lady, and 
instantly the saint remembered the hedge of blackberries 
covered by his cloak, and he went and plucked as many as 
he could carry, and brought them to the sick queen, and 
she ate them and revived. 

One day S. Kieran of Clonmacnois and the two Brendans 
visited the monastery. The steward came to the abbot 
in dismay, and said, "There is nothing to offer these 
distinguished guests except some scraps of bacon, and 

" Then serve up the bacon and the water," said the saint 
And when they were brought on the table, the bacon tasted to 
every man better than anything he had ever tasted before, 
and as for the water, the benediction of the man of God had 
converted it into wine. But there was at the table a lay- 
brother, and when he had some bacon put before him, he 
thrust his platter away angrily, for he was tired of bacon, 
and had expected something better, when distinguished 
visitors were present. " Hah !" said the abbot, ' not by 
way of condemnation, but of prophecy,' " The time will 
come when you, son of Comgall, shall eat ass's flesh in 
Lent, and soon after you will lose your head." 

It is also related that there was a boy came to Saigir 
called Crichidh of Clonmacnois, and remained for a while 
under the abbot Kieran. Now it was the custom and 



March i.] S. Kiev an or Piran. 71 

rule of S. Kieran, that the blessed Paschal fire should burn 
all the year. But out of mischief, as we moderns should 
say, " instigante diabolo," as the mediaeval chronicler ex- 
presses it, the boy put the fire out. Then S. Kieran said to 
the brethren, " Look ! our fire is extinguished by that con- 
founded boy (a maledicto puero), Crichidh, purposely, for 
he is always up to mischief (sicut solet semper nocere). 
And now we shall be without fire till next Easter, unless the 
Lord sends us some. As for that boy, he will come to a 
bad end shortly." And so it was, for on the morrow a wolf 
killed the boy. 

Now S. Kieran of Clonmacnois, to whom the boy be- 
longed, hearing of this, came to Saigir, and was courteously 
received by S. Kieran the Elder. But there was no fire, 
and the snow fell in large flakes ; and it was bitterly cold, 
so that S. Kieran of Clonmacnois and his companions sat 
blue with frost, and their teeth chattering. Then S. Kieran 
of Saigir raised his hands to heaven, and prayed, and there 
fell a globe of fire into his hands, and he spread the lap of 
his chasuble (casula), and went with the fireball in it before 
his guests, and they warmed themselves thereat. And after 
that, dinner was served. Then said S. Kieran of Clonmac- 
nois, "I will not eat till my boy is restored to me." 
" Brother," answered S. Kieran of Saigir, " I knew where- 
fore thou didst come ; the boy is now on his way hither." 
And presently the door opened, and the boy that the wolf 
had eaten, walked in alive and well. 

King yEngus of Munster had seven bards " who were 
wont to sing before him, harping, the deeds of heroes," but 
these seven men were murdered and drowned in a bog, 
and their harps were hung upon a tree by the side of the 
morass. S. Kieran, at the king's request, restored the seven 
harpers to life, after their having been steeped in bog-water 
for a whole month. 

^ *v 


72 Lives of the Saints. [March s . 

Now when he was dying, Kieran besought the Lord to 
bless all such as should keep his festival. " And," says his 
historian, " on March 5th, God introduced him into the lot 
of his inheritance in the vineyard, and planted him in the 
mountain of his possession, even in the celestial Jerusalem, 
which is the mother of us all. Wherefore, then, my 
brothers, let us hold a most solemn feast to the most holy 
Kieran, and let the voice of praise resound in the taber- 
nacles of the righteous ; for the right hand of the Lord 
made virtue to spring up in this man, which may Jesus 
Christ for the merits of his servant Kieran cause to grow 
in us present likewise, that we may be meet, He being 
our leader, to enter into the courts of our eternal inheritance. 

(about a.d. 618.) 

[Benedictine and Galican Martyrologies ; but at Aries on October 10th, 
and Greven in his additions to Usuardus. Authority: A life by an 
anonymous writer, long posterior, and very credulous. It contains much 
idle fable.] 

S. Virgilius, anativeof Aquitania, retired in childhood to 
the monastery of Lerins, where he distinguished himself by 
his virtues, and was in time elected abbot One night, says 
the historian of his life, who deals somewhat largely in 
popular legend, as he was walking round the island, as a 
good pastor keeping guard over his sheep-fold, he saw a 
strange ship drawn up against the shore, and by the star 
light he saw the sailors moving on the deck. Then two 
descended from the vessel, and coming towards him, said, 
"Reverend father, we know who thou art, and greatly 
esteem thy incomparable virtue, the fame of which is spread 
abroad through the round world, and many there are of the 



March so ,S. Virgilius. 73 

faithful in far-off lands who desire to see thy sanctity, and 
hear the words of wisdom that distil from thy lips. And 
now we are bound for Jerusalem, come therefore with us 
and make this journey to the holy sites, and thy name will 
be praised by all men." But Virgilius mistrusted this 
address, and he answered, " Ye cannot thus deceive an old 
soldier of Christ !" and he made the sign of the cross. 
Then the ship and the crew vanished, and he saw only the 
stars winking in the waves. 

From Lerins he was called, in 588, to take charge of the 
diocese of Aries, by the unanimous voice of the people. 

He is said to have been the consecrator of S. Augustine 
of Canterbury to his mission in England, by order of S 
Gregory the Great, from whom he received the pall. He 
built several churches in Aries ; amongst others, the cathe- 
dral, which he dedicated to S. Stephen, and the church of 
the Saviour and S. Honoratus. Whilst erecting this latter 
church, the legend says that the people toiled ineffectually 
to move the pillars to their destined place. At last they 
sent word to S. Virgil that the truck was fast, and the pillars 
could neither be taken od nor carried back. Then Virgil 
hurried to the spot, and saw a little devil, like a negro boy, 
sitting under the truck, arresting the progress of the wheels. 
Virgil drove him away, and then the columns were easily 
moved. By his prayers he is also reported to have killed a 
monstrous serpent which infested the neighbourhood. He 
was buried in the church of SS. Saviour and Honoratus, 
which he had built 

* *t 

* * 

74 Lives of tlie Saints. [March 5 

(a.d. 675.) 

[Venerated at Soissons. Mentioned in some of the additions to Usuar- 
dus, and later Martyrologies. Authority : A Life by a native of Soissons 
shortly after his translation, four years after the death of the saint.] 

Drausinus or Drausius was a native of Soissons, and 
was the son of pious parents of noble rank. He was edu- 
cated by S. Anseric, bishop of Soissons, on whose death he 
was called to fill his place. His virtues and charity caused 
him to be venerated as a saint immediately after his death. 
S. Thomas-a-Becket had recourse to his intercession when 
he was in France, before returning to England. 

His relics were dispersed at the French Revolution, but 
his tomb, a very interesting specimen of Gallo-Roman art, 
is preserved in the Louvre. The Society of Antiquaries at 
Soissons has made many attempts to recover it for the 
cathedral at Soissons, but hitherto in vain. 

(a.d. 1209.) 

[Benedictine Martyrology, and Saussaye in his Gallican Martyrology. 
Authorities : William of Puis-Laurent, and other contemporary historians 
of the Albigensian war, and the letters of Innocent III.] 

The name of the Albigenses probably arose from the 
condemnation of these heretics at the council of Albi, 
under the presidence of Gerard, bishop of that diocese, in 
the year 1176. 

Under the name was included that vast body of heretics 
which agreed on certain fundamental dogmas, but differed 
on minor particulars, as they borrowed more or less from 
Christianity. They inhabited the Duchy of Narbonne, the 


* * 

March $.] B. Peter of Castelnau. 75 

Marquisate of Toulouse, and the southern portion of the 
Duchy of Aquitaine, mixed with Catholics in some parts, in 
other parts comprising the entire population. 

Before their condemnation by the Council, they had been 
known as Cathari, Patareni or Populicians, a corruption of 
Paulicians; and were a branch of that great Manichsean 
inroad which entered Germany, Hungary, Bulgaria, and 
Bohemia, where the name Cathari was corrupted into Ket- 
zer, and which spread from Northern Italy into the southern 
provinces of France, where Manichseism completely dis- 
placed Christianity over a wide area, and gained a head and 
strength it was unable to acquire elsewhere. 

The fundamental principle of the new Manichaeans, from 
which, as from a centre, the different sects radiated, was a 
Dualism of Good and Evil Principles equally matched, the 
Evil Principle, the origin of the visible creation ; the Good 
Principle, the author of that which is invisible. This oppo- 
sition of matter and spirit constituted the basis of their 
moral systems. These systems were diverse; some, re- 
garding everything natural and carnal as pertaining to the 
Evil Principle, abstained from meat, cheese, and eggs, from 
marriage, and from whatever employment attached them to 
the earth ; whilst others, regarding the soul as so distinct 
from the body as to be incapable of being soiled or affected 
by the actions of the fleshy envelope, gave themselves up 
to the grossest licentiousness. Into the theology of these 
new Manichaeans, contact with Christianity had introduced 
the person of Christ, but in their scheme He occupied no 
necessary place. He was held to be subject to God, and 
to have had but a phantom body ; He neither suffered, 
died, nor rose again, except in appearance. But in opposi- 
tion to this Docetism, John de Lugio taught that Christ had 
a real body ; and some of the Cathari the late Albigenses 
held that the true body was born of Mary and Joseph, 

* * 


j6 Lives of the Saints. [March s . 

and proceeded from the Evil Principle, and that this body 
died on the Cross, but that the spiritual and good Christ 
was by no means to be confused with the historical Christ 
of the Gospels. 1 

With the doctrines specially professed by the Albigenses 
it is possible for any one, who chooses, to become thoroughly 
acquainted, as there is abundant material from which the 
requisite information can be drawn. Such are the decrees 
of councils condemning categorically their errors ; the bulls 
of popes and imperial ordinances denouncing them ; the 
letters of Innocent III. ; the statutes of Raymond, Count of 
Toulouse ; the controversial treatises written against the 
heretics, taking each of their doctrines in order, to refute 
them ; and lastly, the valuable transactions of the Inquisi- 
tion at Toulouse, published by Limborch, containing a great 
number of cases, the interrogations, and confessions, and 
sentences ; the archives of the Inquisition at Carcassonne, 
portions of which are published in Vaissette, and the Inqui- 
sitorial formulary of questions put to Albigenses as to their 
faith, in Ricchinus. 

The doctrines peculiar to the Albigenses were these : 
There were two Creators, the good God, who was the author 
of the New Testament, and who made the world of good 
spirits ; and the bad God, who was the author of the Old 
Testament, and Creator of the visible world, and of the evil 
spirits. 2 This latter God they called a liar, because he told 
the first man : " The day thou eatest of the tree thou shalt 

1 The best account of the Manichaean tenets of the medaeval heretics is in Hahn: 
Geschichte der Ketzer, vol. i. ; the texts aTe given in notes, upon which he bases 
his opinion. See also Gieseler's Ecclesiastical Hist., 3rd division, chap. vii. ; but 
Gieseler is less full and impartial than Hahn. 

* " Haereticus ponit duo principia, diabolum dicens creatorem omnium visibi- 
lium." Pet. Vallium Sarnaii, apud Bouquet -ft*, p. 5. Reiner in Max. Bibl. xxv. 
p. 263. " Quorum finis est Manichaeorum induere sectam et duos fateri Deos, 
quorum malignus, ut procaciter mentiuntur, creavit omnia visibilia." Lucas 
Tudens. xvi., p. 340. 



March m B. Peter of Castelnau. 77 

surely die," and man did not die the same day that he broke 
the commandment; they also called him a murderer be- 
cause he slew Pharaoh and his host, and the inhabitants of 
the Plain. This bad God was either a fallen angel, 1 or the 
Son of the chief God and Creator, who had two sons, Christ 
and Satan. 2 Others held that the good God had two wives, 
Colla and Coliba, by whom he begat many sons and daugh- 
ters. 3 Others, that the men made by the good God were 
good, but that through union with women, whom they 
derived from the Evil Principle, they fell. 4 The creation of 
men was veiled in the following myth by some of the Albi- 
genses. The devil made men out of clay, and bade God 
send into them souls. God answered, that men thus con- 
structed would be too strong, " They would dethrone me." 
Whereupon Satan made man of the foam of the sea ; and 
God said, " That is good, he is a mixture of strength and 
fragility." And he sent a soul into the man thus made. 5 
Generally the Albigenses held that there were two Christs ; 
one bad, who was born in Bethlehem of Mary, and who 
was crucified ; and another good, who had a phantom body 
and was purely spiritual, and who appeared on earth in the 
body of the Apostle Paul. The good Christ neither ate nor 
drank, but the bad Christ, the Son of Mary, lived as do 
other men, and had for concubine, Mary Magdalene. 6 

1 " Sathanam magnum Luciferum qui propter elevationem et nequitiam suam 
de throno bonorum cecidit angelorum, creatorem coeli et terrae, omniumque rerum 
visibilium et invisiblium, spirituum malorum creatorem et principem et Deum esse 
profitebantur ipsumque legem Moysi dedisse asseverant." Chron. Gonfredi in 
Bouquet xii., p. 448. 

* " Erant alii haeretici qui dicebant quod umis est Creator; sed habuit filios, 
Christum et diabolum." Petr. Vail. Sam. apud Bouquet xix. p. J. 

Petr. Vail. Sam. ib., c. 2. 

Ibid., p. 5. 

Arch. Inquisit. Carcass, in Vaittettt HI., p. 435. 

" Dicebant in secreto suo, quod Christus ille qui natus est in Bethlecm, terrest- 
ori et visibili, et in Hierusalem crucifixus, malus fuit; et quod Maria Magdalena 
fait ejus concubina, et ipsa fuit muiler in adulterio deprehensa, de qua legitur in 
Erangelio. Bonus enim Christus . . . nunquam comedit rel bibit, nee Yeram 



78 Lives of the Saints. [March *. 

The Trinity was naturally rejected by the Albigenses, as 
incompatible with their Dualism. They also rejected the 
Old Testament as the work of the Evil Principle ; and re- 
garded Moses, the Prophet, and even John the Baptist, as 
possessed with evil demons. 1 

With regard to the future, some of the Albigenses taught 
that the souls of men were the fallen angels condemned to 
spend seven lives in human bodies. Others denied the 
existence of the soul altogether. 2 With such disbelief in 
the immortality of the soul, or such notion of its being an 
angel in a state of purgation, the resurrection of the body, 
Purgatory and Hell were rejected ; and with them, prayer 
for the dead and invocation of saints for how pray for a 
soul which is annihilated, or how invoke an apostate angel ? 3 

The idea of a visible Church, and the necessity of sacra- 
ments, could not be entertained with such a creed ; and the 
Albigenses repudiated baptism, communion, and other rites. 
Marriage they denounced as fornication, and they con- 
demned intercourse between man and woman as sin in the 
higher ranks of the elect. 4 Others, however, said that for- 
nication was no sin. 5 But this refers to the lower order 
of the faithful. 

The faithful were divided into two orders : the higher, or 
" perfect," who wore a black dress, abstained from marriage, 

carnem assumpsit, nee unquam fuit in hoc mundo nisi spiritualiter in corpore 
Pauli." Petr. Vail. Sam. apud Bouquet xix. p. $. " Quod Dei filius non assumpsit 
in beata et de beata Virgine carnem veram, sed fantasticam." Reg. Inquisit. 
Carcass, apud Vaissette ii. p. 372. 

1 Petr . Vail. Sam. ib. xix. p. t, ; Reiner, in Mar. Bibl. xxv. p. 263 ; Lucas Tu- 
dens. ib. p. 241 ; Acta Cone. Lumbar. Bouquet xiv. p. 438. 

* Petr. Vail. Sarn. ib. p. 5, 6. " Dicunt quod anima hominis non est nisi purut 
sanguis," Reg. Inq. Carcass. Vaissette p. 327. 

* Lucas Tud. in Max. Bibl. xxv. De altera vita, p. 193-212. 

* Reiner, in Max. Bibl. xxv. p. 263. Petr. Vail. Sarn. apud Bouquet xix. p. 5, etc. 
" Sacrum matrimonium meretricium esse, nee aliquem in ipso salvari posse prse- 
dicabant, filios et filias generando." 

5 " Dicunt quod simplex fornicatio non est peccatum aliquod." Reg. Inq. Car- 
cass. Faissette iii. p. 371. 



March 5.] B. Peter of Castelnau. 79 

the eating of flesh, eggs, and cheese ; and the " believers," 
who gave free scope to their lusts, and whose salvation was 
due to a certain ceremony being performed over them by 
one of the "perfect," which was called the "consolation." 
If one of the perfect ate the least morsel of meat or cheese 
or egg, he sinned mortally, and all who had been consoled 
by him fell at the same time out of a state of grace, and it 
was necessary for them to be re-consoled ; and even those 
who were saved fell out of heaven for the sins of him who 
had consoled them. The sacrament of consolation was 
performed by one of the "perfect" laying his hands upon 
one of the " believers," who repeated a Pater Noster ; and 
such act placed the " believer " in a state of grace from 
which he could only fall by the fall of his consoler. This 
ceremony was performed at the point of death. 

The ceremony of reception is thus described by Peter of 
Vaux-Cernaix : 

" When any one went over to the heretics, he who re- 
ceived him said, ' Friend, if you wish to be one of us, it 
behoves you to renounce the whole faith that is held by 
the Roman Church.' He must answer, 'I renounce.' 
'Then receive the Holy Spirit from the good men,' and 
then he breathes seven times in his face. Also he says to 
him, ' You must renounce that cross which the priest made 
on you in baptism, on your breast, and on your shoulders, 
and on your head, with oil and chrism.' He must answer, 
4 1 renounce it' ' Do you believe that water can work your 
salvation f He answers, 4 I do not believe it' 4 You must 
renounce that veil which the priest placed on your head 
when you were baptized.' He must answer, 4 1 renounce 
it' Thus he receives the baptism of the heretics, and denies 
the baptism of the Church. Then they all place their hands 
upon him, and kiss him, and clothe him with a black gar- 
ment, and from that hour he is as one of themselves." 


* * 

8o Lives of the Saints. [March s . 

The ceremony of consolation, or heretication, was only 
performed at the point of death ; but if the sick person 
should show signs of recovery, he or she was required to 
abstain from food, or to open a vein, so as to prevent con- 
valesence and precipitate death. I may as well give a few 
instances which came under the notice of the inquisitors of 
Toulouse, from Limborch : 

"This admission was believed to save the soul of the 
person admitted, and was called spiritual baptism, the con- 
solation, the reception, and the good end ; and it was 
believed that those sanctified by it were bound from that 
moment to abstain from touching a person of another sex, 
and from food, or the soul fell from its state of purification. 
Thus we read of the trial of a woman whose father had 
been received amongst the Albigenses, ' that she was for- 
bidden by her father to touch him, because after his recep- 
tion no woman ought to touch him, and from that time she 
never did touch him.' (Fol. 49.) And in another woman's 
trial, ' that it was unlawful for her to touch Peter Sancii, and 
that she heard that it was reported amongst them that they 
neither touch a woman, nor suffer themselves to be touched 
by one.' (Fol. 68.) But inasmuch as it was possible that 
the person received might return to his former pollutions 
(says Limborch in his introduction to the Acts of the Inqui- 
sition), his reception was delayed to his last sickness, when 
there was no more hopes of recovery, that so he might not 
lose the good he had received ; for which reason some were 
not admitted, though one of the Albigenses was present, 
because it was not believed they would immediately die. 
Thus it is reported of Peter Sancii (fol. 68) that having 
called 'to hereticate a certain sick woman, she was not 
then hereticated, because he did not think it proper, upon 
account of her not being weak enough.' And afterwards, 
though the distemper grew more violent, Peter Sancii did 

* * 


not hereticate her, because she recovered. As for those who 
were received during their illness, they were commanded to 
make use of the Endura, that is, fasting, and to hasten death 
by opening a vein and bathing. Thus it is related of a cer- 
tain woman, that ' she persevered in the abstinence which 
they call the Endura many days, and hastened her bodily 
death by losing her blood, frequent bathing, and greedily 
taking a poisonous draught of the juice of wild cucumbers, 
mixing it with broken glass, that, by tearing her bowels, she 
might sooner die.' (FoL 14-&) Of another, it is said, 
' that she was forbidden by her mother-in-law to give her 
little daughter, who had been hereticated by Peter Sancii, 
any milk to drink, by which the child died.' (Fol. 46.) 
Another confesses, ' that she had not seen her father since 
his heretication eating or drinking anything but cold water.' 
(Fol. 49.) But one Hugo, who continued several days in 
the Endura, did afterwards, by his mother's persuasion, eat 
and recover. (Fol. 63.) The same year, Peter Sancii 
invited him ' to enter into the Endura, and so to make a 
good end ; but he would not agree to it till he came to die.' 
The same Hugo saw ' that Sancii procured and hastened 
his own death by bleeding, bathing, and cold.' Peter 
Auterii is said to have received another woman, ' and after 
her reception to have forbidden any meat being given to 
the said hereticated sick woman ; and that there were two 
women who attended her, and watched that there should 
be neither meat nor drink given her the whole night, nor 
the following day, lest she should lose the good she had 
received, and contradict the order of Peter Auterii; although 
the said sick woman begged them to give her some food. 
But the third day after she did eat and grew well.' (Fol. 
65-^.) In the sentence of Peter Raymund and of the 
Hugos, we read these things concerning the Endura : ' You 
voluntarily shorten your own corporal life, and inflict death 

VOL. III. 6 

8 2 Lives of the Saints. [March j. 

upon yourself; because you put yourself in that abstinence, 
which the heretics call Endura, in which Endura you have 
now remained six days without meat or drink, and would 
not eat, nor will, though often invited to do so.' (Fol. %i-b.) 
However, all would not subject themselves to so severe a 
law. For we read of a certain woman ' that she suffered 
not her sick daughter, though near death, to be received ; 
because then her said daughter must be put in the Endura.' 
(Fol. 71.) There is also an instance of a woman, who, for 
fear she should be taken up by the Inquisitors, put herself 
in the Endura ; and sending for a surgeon, ordered him to 
open one of her veins in a bath, and after the surgeon was 
gone, she unbound her arm in the bath, that so the blood 
running out more freely, she might sooner die. After this 
she bought poison in order to destroy herself. Afterwards 
she produced a cobbler's awl, which in that barbarous age 
they called alzena, intending to run it into her side ; but the 
women disputing among themselves, whether the heart was 
on the right side or the left, she at last drank up the poison, 
and died the day after. (Fol. 3o-)." 

Now a great deal of abuse has been poured on the In- 
quisition, and its crimes have been vastly exaggerated. 
Gieseler speaks of the bloodthirsty Inquisition as a " mon- 
ster raging with most frightful fury in Southern France," 
strong language for so calm an historian. But we ask, was 
it not necessary that such a system, destructive of life, should 
be put down ? That the fautors of this atrocious self-mur- 
dering should be summarily dealt with, when they persuaded 
mothers to let their children perish on their sick-beds, men 
to pine themselves to death, and women to swallow broken 
glass, to tear their bowels, when their health began to 
amend? We have got the Acts of the Inquisition at 
Toulouse during sixteen years that it " raged with frightful 

1 1 listeria Inquisitionis, Amst. 1692, c. 8. 

March i j B. Peter of Castelnau. 83 

fury," i.e., between 1307 and 1323. The whole number of 
cases reported is 932 ; but it is obvious that the same indi- 
vidual might, and in fact did, often reappear before the 
Inquisition more than once in the course of sixteen years. 
Having confessed some connection with heresy, he was 
sentenced to wear a little cross, or tongue of red cloth, let 
into the garments, or simply to wear a cross round the neck, 
or to make a pilgrimage to a certain church, or to use certain 
prayers ; of such sentences 1 74 are recorded. If the person 
condemned to do this disobeyed, he was put in prison for a 
while; there were 218 such cases. If he escaped from 
prison, or ran away from the country, he was condemned as 
a fugitive ; there were 38 of these. Some of the leaders of 
the heresy who had caused the death of many persons, and 
incorrigible heretics who had broken out of prison, were 
condemned to death ; there were 40 fautors of heresy sen- 
tenced twenty-nine Albigenses, seven Waldenses, and four 
Beghards ; thirty-two of these were men, and eight were 
women. Among the sentences recorded are 113 remissions 
of penances, 139 discharges from prison, and 90 sentences 
of heresy pronounced against persons deceased. 1 

Now when we consider what these Albigensian "perfect" 
men were, and how dangerous they were to the well-being 
of society, by their influence over superstitious and ignorant 
peasants, urging them to self-murder, and thus causing the 
death of very many persons, we do not think that the Inqui- 
sition at Toulouse deserves all the odium that has been cast 
upon it. Many of those whom it condemned to death 
would probably have received a sentence of transportation 
for life in England at the present day j and though the exe- 
cution of from two to three persons a year is certainly to be 

A large number of the sentences all the most important are translated and 
published in Maitland"s Tracts and Documents, together with many of the letters, 
bulls, edicts, and controversial writings on the Albigenses. 


84 Lives of the Saints. [March 5. 

deplored, it is not just to denounce the Inquisition as blood- 
thirsty, when it sentenced to death those who had caused 
many innocent and ignorant persons to immolate themselves. 
We do not for a moment pretend to justify the Albigensian 
war ; but we can understand the alarm caused to the Pope 
and to Christian France by the heathen reaction in Pro- 
vence, Narbonne, and Toulouse. Nor were the Albigenses 
free from blame in other particulars. They exhibited their 
contempt for Christian churches and sacraments in a pecu- 
liarly offensive manner, likely to exasperate Catholics to the 
uttermost. One instance shall suffice, and that is so gross 
that it must be given in Latin : 

" Erat quidam pessimus haereticus apud Tolosam, Hugo 
Faber nomine, qui quondam lapsus est in dementiam, quod 
juxta altare cujusdam ecclesiae purgavit ventrem, et in con- 
temptum Dei, cum palla altaris tersit posteriora sua . . 
quae omnia cum vir venerabilis abbas Cistercii . . . 
Comiti retulisset, et eum moneret ut puniret qui tantum 
faciens perpetrarat, respondit comes quod nullo modo 
propter hoc puniret in aliquo cives suos." 

Peter of Castelnau, of whom we have now to speak, sprang 
from an illustrious family in the diocese of Montpellier, and 
was archdeacon of Maguelonne, when he was appointed by 
the Pope to be one of his legates in the southern provinces 
infected with heresy. But the desire of a higher perfection 
led Peter to renounce the honours of the world, and in 
1200, to receive the Cistercian habit in the abbey of Font- 

In 1203, he was again obliged to resume his labours as 
legate, together with Brother Raoul, his colleague, a Cister- 
cian monk like himself. He visited Toulouse, where his 
efforts to repress heresy met with indifferent success. In 
1204, he met the leaders of the Albigenses in conference at 


March s.] B. Peter of Caste Inau. 85 

Hopeless of effecting any good result, Peter of Castelnau 
implored the Holy Father to relieve him of the burden laid 
on him, which, he said, was more than he could bear. But 
the Pope refused to permit him to resign his office, and Peter 
was obliged to revisit Toulouse in 1205, and exact of the 
Count of Toulouse an oath that he would suppress by fire 
and sword the heresy that pervaded his domains. He was 
ordered on pain of excommunication to become the inqui- 
sitor and executioner of his own subjects. 

At the same time Peter deposed Raymond, bishop of 
Toulouse, and thus prepared the way for the election of his 
friend Foulques, a fierce and bloodthirsty, if zealous souL 1 
Then the legate turned to the Rhone, and traversed the 
provinces of Aries and Vienne. In 1206, he was at Mont- 
pellier, deploring with his colleague, Raoul, the sterility of 
their united efforts. At this time of disappointment, God, 
who, to use the words of William de Puylaurens, "knows 
always how to hold in reserve His arrows in the quiver of 
His Providence," sent them out of Spain two holy and 
valiant athletes. In July, 1206, the venerable Diego di 
Azebes, bishop of Osma, accompanied by the sub-prior of 
his church, tapped at their door with his pilgrim's staff. 
They opened, and admitted with the bishop that sub-prior, 
who was S. Dominic. 

The legates opened their hearts to the bishop, and told 
him of their despair. The bishop gently reproved them, 
and bade them have a good courage, and preach the Word 
in season and out of season, and be careful to set a holy 
example. Let them go forth with neither scrip nor purse, 
like the apostles ; and the success which had not attended 
two legates ambling over the country on their mules, would 

1 Foulques was famous as a troubadour for his licentious poetry. His biography 
is given Decemljer 25 : by an irony of fate, the commemoration of this firebrand is 
on Christmas Day, when " Peace on earth " was sung by angels. 

* * 

86 Lives of the Saints. [March s . 

attend two apostles going barefoot. The advice of the 
bishop was approved ; the legates only asked of him to 
accompany them with his sub-prior. The bishop consented, 
and the four set forth one morning out of Montpellier, with- 
out shoes on their feet, and no money in their pouch. At 
once the difficulties melted away, and numerous conversions 
were made. At Beziers and Carcassonne, they met with 
great success. The whole town of Caraman, on the Laura- 
guais, abjured heresy. But their success was not lasting : 
Peter saw that the only way in which he could hope to 
extinguish heresy was by a more persuasive weapon than 
the tongue. 

However, he returned into the heat of the battle shortly 
after, to attend the conference with the heretics, held at 
Montreal. After this the four apostles separated to preach 
in different parts. Peter, finding that Raymond, Count of 
Toulouse, hung back from using the sword to constrain his 
people to abjure their heresy, excommunicated him, and 
the Count at once swore, as he had done before, that he 
would put down the errors of Albigensianism. Peter of 
Castelnau felt that, to use his own words, "The cause of 
Jesus Christ will not succeed in these lands, till one of us 
who preach in His name shall die in defence of the faith ; 
may it please God that I shall be the first to feel the sword 
of the persecutor." 

The Count met the legate at S. Gilles, on the banks 
of the Rhone, for conference, which led to nothing. On 
January 15th, 1209, Peter had said Mass, and was pre- 
paring to cross the river, when two men ran up, and one 
of them pierced him through the sides with a lance. Peter 
fell down, exclaiming, "Lord, pardon him, as I forgive 
him ! " then he said a few words to his fellows, and died, 
praying fervently. The Count seems to have been guiltless 
of ordering or approving the murder. 

J- ^ 


March s.] S. John-Joseph of the Cross. 87 

(a.d. 1734.) 

[Roman Martyrology. Authority : His Life by the P. Diodati, pub- 
lished at Naples, in 1794. He was inscribed by Pius VI. among the 
number of the Beatified on May 15th, 1789 ; and he was canonized by 
Gregory XVI. on May 26th, 1839.] 

S. John-Joseph of the Cross, who must not be con- 
founded with S. John of the Cross (Nov. 16th), was 
born in the island of Ischia, on the Feast of the Assump- 
tion, in the year 1654, of respectable parents, Joseph 
Calosirto and Laura Garguito, and was baptized under 
the name of Charles Cajetan. The family must have 
been one of singular piety, for five of his brothers 
entered religion. The subject of our memoir, as a child, 
exhibited a precocious piety. He chose as his room a 
small chamber in the most retired portion of the house, 
where he erected a little altar to Our Lady, on whose 
great festival he had been born, and towards whom, 
through life, he manifested a filial devotion. From the 
earliest age also he manifested a great repugnance from 
sin. His pure childish soul shivered and shrank from 
the breath of evil, as a young spring flower from a frozen 

The knowledge of evil without bringing guilt to the 
soul, unless voluntarily received and harboured with 
delight, leaves on it a mark, so that the soul knowing 
evil cannot have the freshness of a guiltless and ignorant 
soul. The little saintly boy, taught of God, seems un- 
consciously to have felt this, and he manifested none of 
that curiosity after evil which is one of the tokens of 
our fallen nature, and which leads the young mind first 

^ . . * 

88 Lives of the Saints. March 5 .i 

to the knowledge of evil, and then, it may be, to the per- 
petration of it. 

Feeling a great desire for the religious life, he entered the 
order of S. Francis, as reformed by S. Peter of Alcantara, 
in Naples, and assumed the habit at the age of sixteen, 
taking at the same time the name of John-Joseph of the 
Cross. This was in 1671. His noviciate lasted three years; 
and at the age of nineteen, his superior found him suffici- 
ently perfect to be entrusted with the direction of the build- 
ing of a convent at Piedimonte di Agila, and the organizing 
of discipline therein. 

On arriving at the proper age, he was ordained priest, 
and soon after retired into a forest, where he built him- 
self a cell, and resided as a hermit. Soon five little 
hermitages clustered around his cell, and a church was 
built for the accommodation of the anchorites. But his 
superiors recalled him to the monastery to undertake the 
charge of the novices, and somewhat later he was ap- 
pointed superior of the house at Piedimonte di Agila, 
which had risen under his care. He suffered about 
this time from extreme dryness. It was to him as 
though the face of God were turned away from him, 
and he felt agonies of fear, thinking that through want 
of judgment or unbecoming example, he might have 
retarded the advance, and perhaps lost some, of the 
souls of the novices who had been entrusted to his 
care. But one of the brethren who had lately died 
appeared to him in a vision, and comforted him, as- 
suring him that his novices were all leading an edify- 
ing life. 

He was afterwards appointed Superior of the convent, 
an office in which he displayed great judgment, but which 
withdrew him too much from spiritual meditation and read- 
ing to be congenial with his tastes. 



March s.] S. J ohn-J oseph of the Cross. 


At his request he was relieved of the office of Superior, 
and was again made director of the novices, and fulfilled 
the duties of this office for four years. 

He died on March 5th, 1734, in the convent of S. Lucia, 
at Naples. 

;ahi-.;auE of the virgin. 

After a bas-relief by Orcagna 


* * 

go Lives of the Saints. [March 6. 

March 6. 

S. Marcian, B.M. at Tortona, circ. A.rx ia<x 

SS. Victor, Victorinus, Claudian and Bassa, MM. at Nico- 

media and Apatnea, yd cent. 
S. Quiriacus, P.C. at Treves, \th cent. 
S. Evagrius, Patr. of Constantinople, endof^th cent. 
S. Sezin, Ab. in Brittany, 6th cent. 
S. Fridolin, Ab. ofSickingen, end of 'jth cent. 
SS. Kyneburga, Kyneswitha and Tibba, W. at Peterborough, 

end of 7 th cent. 
SS. Balther and Bilfred, HH. at Lindisfarne, circ. a.d. 756. 
S. Chrodegang, B. of Metz, a.d. 766. 

SS. Forty-two Martyrs, tinder the Saracens, in Syria, circ. a.d. 841 
S. Cadroe, Ab. at Metz, a.d. 988. 

B. Oldegar, B. of Barcelona, and Archb. of Tarragona, A.D. 1137. 
S. Colkttk, V. at Ghent, a.d. 1447. 

(6th cent.) 

[Venerated in Brittany, patron of the parish of Guic-Sezni, in the 
diocese of S. Pol-de-Leon.] 

j]F this abbot nothing certain is known. Colgan 

attempted to identify him with S. Isserninus, 

the companion of S. Patrick. According to 

Albert le Grand, S. Sezin was born in Ulster, in 

402, studied at Rome, became a bishop in Ireland, and 

passed into Brittany in 477, where he died as late as 529, 

having lived 127 years. But the lections in the Breviary 

of S. Pol de Leon, from which Albert le Grand made 

up this history, are for the most part taken word for word 

from the Life of S. Kieran. We may allow that the saint 

was an Irishman, and that he died at Guic-Sezni, in the 

beginning of the 6th century, but that is all we can say of 





March 6.j 6". Fridoltft. 91 



[Molanus and Greven in their additions to Usuardus. Canisius in his 
German Martyrology. Anglican and later Irish and Scottish Martyr- 
ologies. The Acts of Fridolin were preserved in a monastery on the 
Moselle, where they were found, and recast in a more ornate style, by a 
monk, Balther, in the beginning of the 12th cent. The story of this is 
rather curious. In the monastery of Sickingen there was no copy of the life 
of S. Fridolin, on account of the monastery having been destroyed by the 
Huns about 938. But Balther, a monk of Sickingen, happening to 
visit a monastery on the Moselle, which had been founded by S. Fridolin, 
found the life there. He asked for it, but the prior refused to give it him, 
so he learned it by heart, as well as he could, ' ' partly carrying it away word 
for word, and partly gathering the subject-matter," after which he set to 
work and re-wrote it, incorporating the portions he knew by heart with 
that portion which he wrote in his own words. He says that he was 
puzzled to find that in the MS. the saint was called Fridhold, whereas at 
Sickingen they were wont to call him Fridolin. Fridhold was undoubtedly 
the ancient and most correct form of the name, and Fridolin is a diminu- 

Fridolin the Traveller was a native of Ireland, what 
his name there was is not known, as we only hear of him 
by his Teutonic appellation, signifying "Gentle Peace." 
His birth was illustrious, and he is usually said to have been 
the son of a king, but Balther merely says he was a person 
of distinguished piety. Having embraced the ecclesiastical 
state, he was raised to the priesthood, and preached with 
great zeal for some time in various parts of Ireland. 
Wishing to visit foreign countries, he passed over to France, 
and after preaching there, became a member of S. Hilary's 
monastery at Poitiers, where he remained for a considerable 
time, and was so much esteemed by the community, and 
the bishop and clergy, that he was elected abbot. He then 
completed an object which he had greatly at heart, the re- 
building of S. Hilary's Church, in which he was assisted by 
king Clovis, and by the bishop and the inhabitants ; and he 


92 Lives of the Saints. [March 6. 

placed in it the remains of the saint, reserving a few por- 
tions of the relics for himself, During this time he was 
visited by two priests, relatives of his, who had been 
labouring as missionaries in Northumberland. Leaving 
them at Poitiers, and taking with him some of the relics 
of S. Hilary, Fridolin went to the east of France, and 
erected a monastery on the banks of the Moselle, which he 
dedicated to S. Hilary, and which was called Helera. 
Having remained there only as long as was necessary to 
complete that foundation, he built a church amidst the 
Vosges, likewise in honour of S. Hilary, perhaps that 
which was named Hilariacum, the modern S. Avoid, in the 
Department of Moselle. Thence he proceeded to Strass- 
burg, where also he erected a church under the same in- 
vocation. Next we find him at Coire, in the Grisons, 
and there likewise founding a Church of S. Hilary. While 
there, he inquired of the inhabitants if there were any island 
in the Rhine as yet uninhabited, and was informed there 
was one, of which, however, they could not give him a 
precise account. He went in search of it, and at length 
found the island of Sickingen, a few miles above Basle. 
When examining it for the purpose of discovering whether 
it were fit for the erection of a church, he was beaten and 
ill-treated by the inhabitants of the neighbouring district. 
But having obtained a grant of the island from the king, he 
founded a church, and a religious house for women, towards 
the endowment of which he got some lands from Urso, a 
nobleman of Glarus. Thenceforth he spent the remainder 
of his life at Sickingen, together with some disciples of his, 
of whom he formed a community, prior, it is said, to his 
having established the nunnery. He died there on the 6th 
of March, but in what year is not known. There are great 
doubts even as to the century in which he flourished ; but 
it is most probable that he belonged to the latter part of the 




March 6.] .S'.S. Kyneburga, &c. 93 

7th century. Some writings have been attributed to the 
saint, but upon no sufficient authority. Many writers 
suppose that he arrived in France in the reign ot Clovis I., 
but it is more probable that it was in the reign of 
Clovis III. According to Balther, Christianity seems to 
have been completely established in Ireland at the time of 
Fridolin's departure for France, and this representation 
does not suit the religious state of Ireland at the period 
when Clovis I. reigned. The holy expeditions of mission- 
aries from Ireland to the continent, had not begun as 
early as the 6th century. Next comes the very remarkable 
circumstance of the priests, the nephews of Fridolin, 
coming from Northumberland. There were no Irish 
priests in Northumberland until the year 635. 1 

S. Fridolin is regarded as the tutelar patron of the 
Canton of Glarus, which bears on its coat of arms a figure 
of the saint 



[Anglican Martyrologies. Authorities : Bede, lib. iii. c. 21, Ingulf, 
and William of Malmesbury.] 

An obstinate tradition found in the ancient English 
Chronicles asserts that two daughters of the savage old 
heathen Penda, king of Mercia, Kyneburga and Kyne- 
switha, both gave up the thought of marriage to consecrate 
themselves to God. The eldest, who was married to 
Alcfrid, the eldest son of king Oswy of Northumbria, is said 
to have left him with his consent, after having lived with 
him some years in virginal continence, to end her life in 

> See Dr. Lanigan's Irish Eccl. Hist. ii. p. 483-6. 



94 Lives of the Saints. [March 6. 

the cloister. The youngest, sought in marriage by Offa, 
king of the East Saxons, used her connection with him only 
to persuade the young prince to embrace the monastic life as 
she herself desired to do. But it has been proved that the 
two daughters of the bloody Penda contributed with theii 
brothers to the establishment of the great abbey of Mede- 
hampstede, or Peterborough, that their names appear in 
the list of the national assembly which sanctioned this 
foundation, and that it was not till after, that they retired to 
lead a religious life at Dermundcaster, now Caister, near 
Peterborough, on the confines of Huntingdon and North- 
ampton. There Kyneburga became the abbess of a 
community of nuns, when she was shortly joined by her 
sister Kyneswitha, and a kinswoman Tibba. 

After their death, they were buried at Peterborough. 
When the Danes wasted England, their bodies were carried 
to Thorney, but were brought back again in the days of 
king Henry I. 

Camden, in his account of Rutland, informs us that 
S. Tibba was held in particular veneration at Ryall on the 


(ABOUT A.D. 756.) 

[Anglican and Scottish Martyrologies. Authorities : Aberdeen Bre- 
viary, Hector Boece, Hist. Scot. lib. ix. Matthew of Westminster under 
date 941 ; Turgot of Durham, &c] 

S. Balther is supposed to be identical with S. Baldred, 
commemorated the same day in the Scottish Martyrologies. 

S. Baldred is said to have lived a solitary life on the 
Bass-rock. At the entrance of the Frith of Forth was a 
dangerous rock just above the level of low tide which 
proved a cause of continual shipwreck. Baldred, says the 



March 6.j ^^ B alther & Bilf red. 95 

lection in the Aberdeen Breviary, compassionating the 
sailors, went to the rock, and standing on it, it swam away 
under him " like a boat," and he conducted it to a place 
where it could do no mischief, and there he rooted it again. 

He died at Aldham (Alderstone), and his body was 
claimed by the neighbouring parishes of Tyningham and 
Preston. A contest arose between the three parishes, and 
the story is told, which occurs also in that of S. Tyllo, that 
in the morning there were three precisely similar bodies, so 
that each parish was able to possess S. Baldred. 

In 951, Anlaf the Dane burnt the church and mona- 
stery of Tyningham, and immediately after was struck with 
sudden sickness, and died. The body of S. Balther was re- 
discovered by revelation, by a priest, Elfrid, two centuries 
later, whose mission seems to have been the recovery of lost 
relics, for he found also those of SS. Bilfred, Acca, Alkmund 
the bishop, king Oswin, and the abbesses Ebba and Ethel- 
githa, being directed to them all by visions. The bones of 
S. Balther and S. Bilfred were put together with the body 
of S. Cuthbert in his shrine at Durham. But they were 
removed from the shrine again in 1104, the head of S. 
Oswald being alone left with S. Cuthbert, and were put in 
the shrine of the Venerable Bede. 

S. Bilfred was a goldsmith, who is said to have chased a 
book of the Gospels with gems in gold, which was long 
preserved at Durham, and is now in the Cottonian library 
in the British Museum. On the cover is "|^ Eadfrid, 
Oetilwald, Billfrith, Aldred hoc Evangelium Deo et Cuth- 
berto uonstruxerunt et ornaverunt;" above this in Saxon 
characters, and in a Northumbrian dialect, " And Billfrith, 
the anchorite, he fabricated the curious works that are on 
the outside, and it adorned with gold and with gems, also 
with silver overgilded, a priceless treasure." Billfrith is 
supposed to be a local form of Bilfred. 


96 Lives of the Saints. [March 6. 

(a.d. 766.) 

[Metz Martyrology, Molanus and Herimann Greven in their additions to 
Usuardus. Belgian Martyrologies, and Saussaye in his Gallia Christiana. 
Authority : His life by Pauhis Diaconus (fl. 790), and a larger one by 
John, abbot of Gorze, (d. 793), published in Pertz, Mon. Sacr. T. x. p. 

This saint was a native of Hasbain, that portion of 
Brabant which surrounds Louvain, and was educated 
in the abbey of S. Tron. On account of his learning and 
general talents he was made chancellor of France by 
Charles Martel, mayor of the palace, in 737. Soon after 
the death of Charles, he was elected bishop of Metz, in 
742. In 754 he was sent on an embassy by king Pepin to 
Astulph, king of the Lombards, who had overrun the 
North of Italy, praying him not to commit degradations in 
Rome, nor to force the Romans to desert their faith. But 
the embassy proved fruitless. In 755 the saint organised a 
regular community to serve as chapter to his cathedral, 
requiring them to live together in one house, and observe 
certain rules, which he drew up in thirty-four articles. 
Amongst other rules, he required his canons to confess at 
least twice in the year to the bishop, before the beginning 
of Advent and Lent. He built and endowed the mona- 
steries of S. Peter, of Gorze, and of Lorsch ; and died on 
March 6th, 766. He was buried at Gorze. His relics 
disappeared at the Revolution. 



March 6.] , Colette. 97 

(a.d. 1447.) 

[Roman Martyrology. Her festival was celebrated with proper office at 
her convent in Ghent, by permission of Clement VIII. ; and Paul V. 
extended this privilege to all other convents of her order. She was canon- 
ized by Pius VII., in 1807. Her life was written by Peter a Vallisus, or de 
Rheims, for many years her confessor, in French, and it was translated by 
Etienne Julliac, a contemporary, into Latin ; and an epitome of her life 
was written byjodocus Clichthrove."] 

Colette Boillet, a carpenter's daughter, was born at 
Corbie, in Picardy, on Jan. 13th, 1380. Her parents gave 
her at the font the name of Nicoletta, and this has been 
contracted into Colette, the name by which she is now 
usually known. From her earliest infancy she seems to 
have been singled out for a special work, and her young 
soul, from the first, opened to divine grace, as a spring 
flower to the sun. At the age of seven, she yearned for a 
retired life, and she fashioned for herself a little oratory in 
the back premises of the carpenter's wood-yard, into which 
she retreated for prayer, and there spent many hours in 
communion with God. When her childish companions 
sought her that they might draw her into their sports and 
pastimes, she hid under her bed ; but when anything was 
really wanted of her, or any of her companions were in 
trouble, she was at once at hand to assist and con- 
sole. If a poor person came to the door whilst the family 
was at meals, she would rise and give him her share. 

In 1402, at the age of twenty-two, Colette bade farewell 
to nature, to her friends, to all of life that was most lovely, 
and enclosed herself in an anchorite's cell, built against the 
walls of the church of Corbie. These voluntary recluses 
were common in the Middle Ages. Those who desired to 
live this life of seclusion, entered living into these tombs, 
which were built up, leaving only a window open, through 

vol. in. 7 


* * 

98 Lives of the Saints. [March e. 

which they were fed and communicated. Throughout all 
Picardy the fame of the austerities of Colette spread, and 
many sought her counsel and prayers. Fearing that her 
humility would suffer, for three years she maintained a 
complete silence, only opening her window to receive the 
Holy Sacrament. At length the call came, which it was 
impossible for her to resist. Henry de la Balm, her 
confessor, saw in a dream a vine full of leaves, but fruitless ; 
then came Colette and pruned the vine, and it began to 
yield abundantly. Shortly after this Colette saw, in vision, a 
great tree growing in her cell, laden with golden fruit, and 
numerous saplings springing up about its roots. Fearing a 
deception of Satan, she tore up the young plants, but there 
appeared more in their place. Then she thought God 
summoned her to reform the Order of the Poor Clares. 
But she still hesitated ; whereupon she was struck blind for 
three days, and after that for three days dumb. She hesi- 
tated no longer, but came forth ready, in God's name, to 
undertake her mission. She left her cell with regret 
turning at the door, and kissing the threshold, she sobbed 
forth, " Oh, dear little home, farewell ! farewell my joy 
and repose ! Oh, if men knew how much happiness I have 
enjoyed in thee, they would desert palaces to inhabit 
thy narrow walls." 

It was the close of autumn in 1406. The vines were 
heavy with grapes, the trees had put on their many-coloured 
autumnal tints, and the last shocks of yellow harvest were 
being gathered in. For four years, in her seclusion, she 
had seen nothing of all this, only the golden light playing 
on the wall of her chamber, sometimes pale, and sometimes 
burning as flame, and the blue sky and the drifting clouds, 
now dark grey with winter rains, and then white and fleecy 
in summer light. 

Colette had written all that she had deemed expedient 


%, > 

March 6.J 6". Colette. 99 

for the reformation of the Franciscan Order ; she placed 
her writings in a pouch attached to her girdle, and on foot 
she started for Nice, where Benedict XIII. resided, on 
account of the schism. The pope received Colette with 
honour ; she made profession of the rule of S. Clare at his 
feet, and he appointed her superior-general of the whole 
order ; naming Henry de la Balm, her confessor, as assistant 
for the reformation of the Friars of S. Francis. 

This young and feeble woman now set her hand with 
incredible energy to the accomplishment of her task. She 
traversed France, Savoy, Germany, and Flanders, meeting 
in some places with violent opposition as a crazy fanatic, 
but in other succeeding in establishing a reform. The 
provinces of France were ravaged by war, and all the evil 
passions of wicked men were let loose ; but Colette walked 
through all dangers, relying on Divine protection, and never 
relying in vain. She was accused of heresy, and even of 
unchastity, but she was not crushed by slander, despising 
reproach as she had defied danger. 

In 1 410, she founded a convent at Besancpn ; in 1415, 
she introduced a reform into the convent of the Cordeliers, 
at Dole, and in succession into nearly all the convents in 
Lorraine, Champagne, and Picardy. In 14 16, she founded 
a house of her order at Poligny, at the foot of the Jura, and 
another at Auxonne. " I am dying of curiosity to see this 
wonderful Colette, who resuscitates the dead," wrote the 
Duchess of Bourbon, about this time. For the fame of the 
miracles and labours of the carpenter's daughter was in 
every mouth. 

In 1422, Colette started for Moulins to meet the duchess, 
and to found there a religious house. The Duchess of 
Nevers summoned her into her duchy, and she obeyed the 
summons. It was on her way to Moulins that she met 
another maiden, also acting under a special call, though one 

* # 

* * 

ioo Lives of the Saints. [March 6. 

of a very different nature. One maiden was called to wear 
cord and veil, the other to gird the sword and wear the casque. 
It was Joan of Arc, then on her way with Dunois at the 
head of an army to besiege Charitd-sur-Loire. In Auvergne, 
Colette converted Isabeau de Bourbon, and at the age of 
nineteen the young princess exchanged her diamonds for 
the knotted cord of S. Clare. 

After having founded the convent of Le Puy, at the 
request of Amadeus VII., Colette carried her reformation 
into Savoy. On the north shore of the Lake of Geneva, 
she found a still sweet spot, itself silent and secluded as a 
monastery, its white walls reflected in the deep blue of the 
lake, and looking out on a range of snowy mountains. At 
Vevey she rested to look around her, relax her weary soul, 
and breathe in the soft air, sweet from the fields of 
narcissus. But God had not yet called her to rest. From 
all sides devotees came to her, the Duchess of Valentinois, 
the unfortunate Jacques de Bourbon, in turn jailor and 
prisoner of his wife, Jeanne of Sicily, with his children, 
who, having tasted the life of the cloister, found it was so 
sweet, that they abandoned for it the pleasures and am- 
bitions of the world. 1 

After having spent two years at Vevey, Colette went to 
Nozeroy, to the princess of Orange, and remained with 
her till 1430. Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy, recalled 
Colette to Flanders, where she founded several houses, and 
glorified God by many miracles. In the memoirs of Oliver 
de la Marche, a Burgundian gentleman of this time, occurs 
the following notice of S. Colette; "En celui temps, 
re'gnoit une moult sainte et devote femme, religieuse de 
Sainte-Claire, au pays de Bourgoigne, nomme'e soeur 
Colette. Cette femme allait par toute la chre'tiente', menant 

1 Jacques II. of Bourbon, Count of la Marche and de Castres, married to Jeanne 
Q. of Naples and Sicily, was imprisoned by his wife, but escaped, and becoming a 
third Order brother of S. Francis, at Besancon, died there, Sept. 24, 1428. 

* ~ * 



March 6.] 

6". Colette. 


moult sainte vie, et ddifiant maisons et eglises de la religion 
de Saint Francois et de Sainte Claire. Et ai 6t6 acertene', 
que, par son pourchas et par sa peine, elle avait e'difie' de 
son temps trois cent quatre-vingts eglises." 

It would seem almost as if Colette had a natural love for 
mountains, so generally do we find her returning to them, 
and laying at their feet the foundations of her dearest homes. 
Perhaps the mystery of their blue-veined valleys, and the 
wondrous changes wrought by the sun and clouds on their 
sides, filled her with a sense of love and awe. But it was not 
from among the mountains that she was summoned away. 
The call to the everlasting hills came to her on the fiats of 
Flanders, in the city of Ghent. There she died on March 
6th, 1447, laying herself down to repose as gladly as the 
weary labourer in harvest time, who returns to his home 
and to sleep after a day of incessant toil. 

When the Emperor Joseph II. suppressed many religious 
houses in his dominions, in 1785, the Poor Clares of Ghent 
took up the body of S. Colette, and traversing France, laid 
it beneath the mountain shadows at Poligny. The holy 
relics were secreted at the time of the French Revolution, 
and on the return of tranquillity, they were placed in the 
parish church ; but the Poor Clares having re-established 
themselves at Poligny, the bones of the saint were restored 
to them. 



102 Lives of the Saints. [March . 

March 7. 

SS. Perpetua, Felicitas, Saturus, and Companions, MM in 

Africa, A.D. 203. 
S. Eubulus, M. at Cczsarea in Palestine, a.d. 308. 
S. Paul the Simple, H. in the Thebaid, a,th cent. 
S. Gaudiosus, B. of Brescia, circ. a.d. 445. 
S. Eastehwin, Ab. rfWearmouth, a.d. 785. (See S. Benedict 

Biscop, Jan. \ith; p. 172.) 
S. Thomas Aquinas, Doct., O.P., at Fossa Nuova, a.d. 1274. 

(a.d. 203.) 

[Roman and all Western Martyrologies on this day, but by the Greeks 
on March 1st. Authorities : The genuine Acts of these martyrs, and a 
sermon by S. Augustine of Hippo on them. The names of Perpetua 
and Felicitas occur in the Canon of the Mass. The first part of the Acts 
was written by S. Perpetua herself, and reaches to the eve of her martyr- 
dom. S. Saturus then took the pen, and added the account of his vision ; 
and when he had gained his crown, an eye-witness of their passion closed the 
account. Tertullian quotes these Acts in his Book De Anima, c. 55 ; and 
S. Augustine in his Sermons, 280, 283, and 294. They were anciently read 
publicly in the churches of Africa.] 

VIOLENT persecution broke out under the 
Emperor Severus, in 202. It reached Africa the 
following year ; when, by order of Minutius 
Timinianus, or Firminianus, five catechumens 
were apprehended at Carthage for the faith ; namely, Revo- 
catus, and his fellow-slave Felicitas, Saturninus, and Secun- 
dums, and Vivia Perpetua. Felicitas was expecting her 
confinement ; and Perpetua had an infant at her breast, was 
of a good family, twenty-two years of age, and married to 
a person of quality in the city. She had a father, a mother, 
and two brothers ; the third, Dinocrates, died about seven 
years old. These five martyrs were joined by Saturus, 
probably brother to Saturninus, and who seems to have been 

* * 

* _ ^____ * 

March 7> ] .SkS 1 . Perpetua, Felicitas, &c. 103 

their instructor : he underwent a voluntary imprisonment, 
because he would not abandon them. The father of S. 
Perpetua, who was a Pagan, and advanced in years, loved 
her more than all his other children. Her mother was 
probably a Christian, as was one of her brothers, the other 
a catechumen. The martyrs, for some days before they were 
committed to prison, were kept under a strong guard in a 
private house : and the account Perpetua gives of their 
sufferings to the eve of their death, is as follows : " We 
were in the hands of our persecutors, when my father, out 
of the affection he bore me, made new efforts to shake my 
resolution. I said to him, ' Can that vessel, which you see, 
change its name ?' He said, ' No.' I replied, ' Nor can I 
call myself any other than I am, a Christian.' At that 
word my father in a rage fell upon me, as if he would have 
pulled out my eyes, and beat me ; but went away in confu- 
sion, seeing me invincible. After this we enjoyed a little 
repose, and in that interval received baptism. The Holy 
Ghost, on our coming out of the water, inspired me to pray 
for nothing but patience under bodily sufferings. A few 
days after this we were put into prison ; I was shocked at 
the horror and darkness of the place ; for till then I knew 
not what such sort of places were. We suffered much that 
day, chiefly on account of the great heat caused by the 
crowd, and the ill-treatment we met with from the soldiers. 
I was, moreover, tortured with concern, because I had not 
my baby with me. But the deacons, Tertius and Pom- 
ponius, who assisted us, obtained, by money, that we might 
pass some hours in a more commodious part of the prison, 
to refresh ourselves. My infant was then brought to me 
almost famished, and I gave it the breast. I recommended 
him afterward carefully to my mother, and encouraged my 
brother; but was much afflicted to see their concern for 
me. After a few days my sorrow was changed into comfort, 



* . __, 

104 Lives of tJie Saints. [March 7 . 

and my prison itself seemed agreeable. One day my 
brother said to me, ' Sister, I am persuaded that you are a 
special favourite of heaven ; pray to God to reveal to you 
whether this imprisonment will end in martyrdom, or not. 
I, knowing God gave me daily tokens of His goodness, 
answered, full of confidence, that I would inform him on 
the morrow. I therefore asked that favour of God, and 
had this vision. I saw a golden ladder, which reached 
from earth to heaven ; but so narrow that only one could 
mount it at a time. To the two sides were fastened all sorts 
of iron instruments, swords, lances, hooks, and knives ; so 
that if any one went up carelessly, he was in great danger 
of having his flesh torn. At the foot of the ladder lay a 
dragon of enormous size, who kept guard to turn back and 
terrify those that endeavoured to mount it. The first that 
went up was Saturus, who was not apprehended with us, 
but voluntarily surrendered himself afterward on our ac- 
count : when he had reached the top of the ladder, he 
turned towards me, and said, ' Perpetua, I wait for you ; 
but take care lest the dragon bite you.' I answered, ' In 
the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, he shall not hurt me/ 
Then the dragon, as if afraid of me, gently lifted his head 
from under the ladder, and I, having got upon the first step, 
set my foot upon his head. Thus I mounted to the top, 
and there I saw an extensive garden, and in the middle of 
it a tall man sitting down dressed like a shepherd, having 
white hair. He was milking his sheep, surrounded with 
many thousands of persons clad in white. He called me 
by my name, bid me welcome, and gave me some curds 
made of the milk which he had drawn : I put my hands 
together, and took and ate them ; and all that were present 
said aloud, Amen. The noise awakened me, chewing some- 
thing very sweet. As soon as I had related this vision to my 
brother, we both concluded that we should suffer death. 




March,. i SS. Perpetua, Felicitas y &c. 105 

"After some days, a rumour having got about that 
we were to be examined, my father came from the 
city to the prison, overwhelmed with grief. ' Daughter, 
said he, 'have pity on my grey hairs, if I yet deserve 
to be called your father; if I have brought you up. I 
pray you consider that my love of you made me always pre- 
fer you to your brothers, and make me not now a reproach 
to mankind. Have respect for your mother and your 
aunt; have compassion on your child that cannot sur- 
vive you ; lay aside this obstinacy, lest you ruin us all ; 
for not one of us will dare open his lips any more if mis- 
fortune befall you.' He took me by the hands at the same 
time, and kissed them ; he threw himself at my feet in tears. 
I confess, I was pierced with sorrow when I considered 
that my father was the only person of our family that would 
not rejoice at my martyrdom. I endeavoured to comfort 
him, saying, ' Father, grieve not ; nothing will happen but 
what pleases God ; for we are not at our own disposal.' 
He then departed, much concerned. Next day, whilst we 
were at dinner, a person came in suddenly to summon 
us to examination. The report of this soon brought a vast 
crowd of people into the audience chamber. We were 
placed on a sort of scaffold before the judge, Hilarian, 
procurator of the province, the proconsul having lately died. 
All who were questioned before me boldly confessed Jesus 
Christ When it came to my turn, my father stood forward, 
holding up my infant He drew me a little aside, conjuring 
me in the most tender manner not to be insensible to the 
misery I should bring on that innocent creature, to which I 
had given life. The president Hilarian joined with my 
father, and said, ' What ! will neither the gray hairs of a 
father, nor the tender innocence of a child, move you? 
Sacrifice for the prosperity of the emperors.' I replied, ' I 
will not do it' ' Are you then a Christian,' said Hilarian. 


* * 

106 Lives of the Saints. [March 7 . 

I answered, ' Yes, I am.' As my father attempted to draw 
me from the scaffold, Hilarian commanded him to be 
beaten off, and he had a blow given him with a stick, which 
I felt as much as if I had been struck myself, so much was 
I grieved to see my father thus treated in his old age. 
Then the judge pronounced our sentence, by which we 
were all condemned to be exposed to wild beasts. We 
then joyfully returned to our prison ; and as my infant was 
not yet weaned, I immediately sent Pomponius the 
deacon, to demand him of my father, but he refused to 
send him. And God so ordered it, that the child no 
longer required to suck, nor did my milk incommode me." 
Secundulus, being no more mentioned, seems to have died 
in prison before this interrogatory. Before Hilarian pro- 
nounced sentence, he had caused Saturus, Saturninus, and 
Revocatus to be scourged ; and Perpetua and Felicitas to 
be beaten on the face. They were reserved for the shows 
which were to be exhibited for the soldiers in the camp, on 
the festival of Geta, who had been made Caesar four years 
before, by his father Severus, when his brother Caracalla 
was created Augustus. 

S. Perpetua relates another vision with which she was 
favoured, as follows : " A few days after receiving sentence, 
when we were all together in prayer, I happened to name 
Dinocrates, at which I was astonished, because I had not 
before had him in my thoughts ; and I that moment knew 
that I ought to pray for him. This I began to do with 
great fervour before God; and the same night I had the 
following vision : I saw Dinocrates coming out of a dark 
place, where there were many others, exceedingly hot and 
thirsty; his face was dirty, his complexion pale, with the 
ulcer in his face of which he had died at seven years of 
age. and it was for him that I had prayed. There seemed 
a great distance between him and me, so that it was im- 

* % 


March 7.] .SVS 1 . Perpetua, Felicitas, &c. 107 

possible for us to come to each other. Near him stood a 
vessel full of water : he attempted to drink, but could not 
reach it. This mightily grieved me, and I awoke. By 
this I knew my brother was in pain, but I trusted I could 
relieve him by prayer : so I began to pray for him, beseech- 
ing God with tears, day and night, that he would grant me 
my request ; and I continued doing this till we were re- 
moved to the camp prison : being destined for a public 
show on the festival of the Caesar Geta. The day we were in 
the stocks 1 I had this vision ; I saw the place, which I had 
beheld dark before, now luminous; and Dinocrates, with 
his body very clean and well clad, refreshing himself; and 
in the place of his wound was a scar only. I awoke, and 
knew he was relieved from his pain. 3 

" Some days after, Pudens, the officer who commanded 
the guards of the prison, seeing that God favoured us with 
many gifts, had a great esteem of us, and admitted many 
people to visit us, for our mutual comfort. On the day of 
the public shows, my father came overwhelmed with sorrow. 
He tore his beard, threw himself on the ground, cursed his 
years, and said enough to move any creature ; and I was 
ready to die with sorrow to see my father in so deplorable 
a condition. On the eve of the shows I was favoured with 
the following vision. The deacon Pomponius, methought, 
knocked very hard at the prison door, which I opened to 
him. He was clothed with a white robe, embroidered with 
innumerable pomegranates of gold. He said to me, 

' These stocks, called Ncrvus, were a wooden machine with many holes, in 
which the prisoners' feet were fastened and stretched to great distances, as to the 
fourth or fifth holes, for the increase of their torments. S. Perpetua remarks, they 
were chained, and also set in this engine during their stay in the camp-prison, 
which seems to have been several days, in expectation of the day of the public 

* it is evident from the visions S. Perpetua had of her little brother, that the 
Church, at that early age, believed the doctrine of Purgatory, and prayed for the 
faithful departed. 


* * 

108 Lives of the Saints. iMarch?. 

' Perpetua, we wait for thee, come along.' He then took 
me by the hand and led me through very rough places into 
the middle of the amphitheatre, and said, ' Fear not 'And, 
leaving me, said again, ' I will be with thee in a moment, 
and bear a part with thee in thy pains.' I was wondering 
the beasts were not let out against us, when there appeared 
a very ill-favoured negro, who came to encounter me with 
others. But another beautiful troop of young men declared 
for me, and anointed me with oil for the combat. Then 
appeared a man of a great stature, in rich apparel, like the 
master of the gladiators, having a wand in one hand, and in 
the other a green bough on which hung golden apples. 
Having ordered silence, he said that the bough should be 
my prize, if I vanquished the negro : but that if he con- 
quered me, he would kill me with a sword. After a long 
and obstinate engagement, I threw the negro on his face, 
and trod upon his head. The people applauded my victory 
loudly. I then approached the master of the amphi- 
theatre, who gave me the bough with a kiss, and said, 
' Peace be with thee, my daughter.' After this I awoke, 
and found that I was not to combat with wild beasts so 
much as with devils." Here ends the relation of S. 

S. Saturus had also a vision, which he wrote down himself. 
He and his companions were conducted by a bright angel 
into a most delightful garden, in which they met some holy 
martyrs lately dead, namely Jocundus, Saturninus, and 
Artaxius, who had been burned alive for the faith, and 
Quintus, who had died in prison. They inquired after other 
martyrs of their acquaintance, and were conducted into 
a most stately palace, shining like the sun ; and in it saw the 
king of this most glorious place surrounded by his happy 
subjects, and heard the voice of a great multitude crying, 
"Holy, holy, holy." Saturus, turning to Perpetua, said, 



March 7.] .SVS". Perpetua, Felicitas, &c. 1 09 

" Thou hast here what thou didst desire." She replied, " God 
be praised, I have more joy here than ever I had in the 
flesh." He adds, that on going out of the garden they found 
before the gate, on the right hand, the bishop of Carthage, 
Optatus, and on the left, Aspasius, priest of the same 
church, both of them alone and sorrowful. They fell at the 
martyrs' feet, and begged that they would reconcile them 
together, for a dissension had happened between them. 
The martyrs embraced them, saying, "Art not thou our 
bishop, and thou a priest of our Lord ? It is our duty to 
prostrate ourselves before you." Perpetua was discoursing 
with them ; but certain angels came and drove away 
Optatus and Aspasius ; and bade them not to disturb the 
martyrs, but be reconciled to each other. The bishop, 
Optatus, was also charged to heal the divisions that reigned 
in his church. The angels after these reprimands seemed 
ready to shut the gates of the garden. " Here," says he, 
" we saw many of our brethren and martyrs likewise. We 
were fed with an ineffable odour, which delighted and 
satisfied us." Such was the vision of Saturus. The rest of 
the Acts were added by an eye-witness. God had called 
to himself Secundulus in prison. Felicitas was eight months 
gone with child, and as the day of the shows approached, 
she was inconsolable lest she should not be confined before 
then ; fearing that her martyrdom would be deferred on 
that account, because women with child were not allowed to 
be executed, before they were delivered : the rest also were 
sensibly afflicted on their part to leave her behind. There- 
fore they unanimously joined in prayer to obtain of God 
that she might be delivered before the day of the shows. 
Scarce had they finished their prayer, when Felicitas found 
herself in labour. She cried out under the violence of her 
pain ; then one of the guards asked her, if she could not 
bear the throes of childbirth without crying out, what she 



no Lives of the Saints. [March?. 

would do when exposed to the wild beasts. She answered, 
" It is I myself that am enduring these pangs now ; but 
then there will be another with me who will suffer for me, 
because I shall suffer for Him." She was then delivered 
of a daughter, which a certain Christian woman took care 
of, and brought up as her own child. Pudens, the keeper 
of the prison, having been already converted, secretly 
did them all the good offices in his power. The day before 
they suffered they were given, according to custom, their 
last meal, which was called a free supper, and they ate in 
public. Their chamber was full of people, with whom they 
talked, threatening them with the judgments of God, and 
extolling the happiness of their own sufferings. Saturus, 
smiling at the curiosity of those that came to see them, said 
to them, " Will not to-morrow suffice to satisfy your in- 
human curiosity ? However you may seem now to pity us, 
to-morrow you will clap your hands at our death, and ap- 
plaud our murderers. But observe well our faces, that you 
may know them again at that terrible day when all men 
shall be judged." They spoke with such courage and intre- 
pidity that they astonished the infidels, and occasioned the 
conversion of several among them. The day of their 
triumph having come, they went out of the prison to the 
amphitheatre full of joy. Perpetua walked with a com- 
posed countenance and easy pace, with her eyes modesdy 
cast down ; Felicitas went with her, following the men, not 
able to contain her joy. When they came to the gate of 
the amphitheatre, the guards would have given them, ac- 
cording to custom, the superstitious habits with which they 
adorned such as appeared at these sights. For the men, a 
red mantle, which was the habit of the priests of Saturn j 
for the women, a little fillet round the head, by which the 
priestesses of Ceres were known. The martyrs rejected 
those idolatrous vestments ; and, by the mouth of Perpetua, 


March 7 .] .SVSl Perpetua, Felicitas, &c. 1 1 1 

said they came thither of their own accord, on the promise 
made them that they should not be forced to anything con- 
trary to their religion. The tribune then consented that 
they should appear in the amphitheatre habited as they were. 
Perpetua sang, as being already victorious ; Revocatus, 
Saturninus, and Saturus threatened the people that beheld 
them with the judgments of God : and as they passed be- 
fore the balcony of Hilarian, they said to him, "Thou judgest 
us in this world, but God will judge thee in the next." The ' 
people, enraged at their boldness, begged that they might 
be scourged, and this was granted. They accordingly passed 
before the Venatores, 1 or hunters, each of whom gave them 
a lash. They rejoiced exceedingly in being thought worthy 
to resemble our Saviour in his sufferings. God granted to 
each of them the death they desired ; for when they had 
discoursed together about what kind of martyrdom would 
be agreeable to each, Saturninus declared that he should 
prefer to be exposed to beasts of several sorts, in order that 
his sufferings might be aggravated. Accordingly, he and 
Revocatus, after having been attacked by a leopardj were 
also assaulted by a bear. Saturus dreaded nothing so much 
as a bear, and therefore hoped a leopard would despatch 
him at once with his teeth. He was then exposed to a 
wild boar, but the beast turned upon his keeper, who re- 
ceived such a wound from him, that he died in a few days 
after, and Saturus was only dragged along by him. Then 
they tied the martyr near a bear, but that beast came not 
out of his lodge, so that Saturus, being sound and not hurt, 
was called upon for a second encounter. This gave him an 
opportunity of speaking to Pudens, the gaoler that had been 
converted. The martyr encouraged him to constancy in 

1 Pro online venatorum. Venatores is the name given to those that were armed 
to encounter the beasts, who put themselves in ranks, with whips in their hands, 
and each of them gave a lash to the Bestiarii, or those condemned to the beasts, 
whom they obliged to pass naked before them in the middle of the pit or arena. 

* * 

* * 

H2 Lives of the Saints. [March 7. 

the faith, and said to him, "Thou seest I have not yet been 
hurt by any beast, as I desired and foretold : believe then 
stedfastly in Christ ; I am going where thou wilt see a leopard 
with one bite take away my life." It happened so, for a 
leopard being let out upon him, sprang upon him, and in a 
moment he was deluged with blood, whereupon the people 
jeering, cried out, " He is well baptized." The martyr said 
to Pudens, " Go, remember my faith, and let our sufferings 
rather strengthen than trouble thee. Give me the ring thou 
hast on thy finger." Saturus, having dipped it in his wound 
gave it him back to keep as a pledge to animate him to 
steadfastness in his faith, and soon after, fell down dead. 
Thus he went first to glory, to wait for Perpetua, according 
to her vision. 

In the mean time, Perpetua and Felicitas had been ex- 
posed to a wild cow ; Perpetua and Felicitas were the first 
attacked, and the cow having tossed the former, she fell on her 
back. Then putting herself in a sitting posture, and per- 
ceiving her clothes were torn, she gathered them about her 
in the best manner she could, to cover herself, thinking 
more of decency than her sufferings. 1 Getting up, not to 
seem disconsolate, she tied up her hair, which was fallen 
loose, and perceiving Felicitas on the ground much hurt by 
a toss of the cow, she helped her to rise. They stood to- 
gether, expecting another assault from the beasts, but the 
people crying out that it was enough, they were led to the 
gate Sanevivaria, where those that were not killed by the 
beasts were despatched at the end of the shows by the 
confectores. Perpetua was here received by Rusticus, a 
catechumen. She seemed as if just returning out of a long 
ecstasy, and asked when she was to fight the wild cow. 
When told what had passed, she could not believe it till 

1 Does not tliis remind the classic scholar of the description of the death of 
Polyxena, hy Talthybius, in the Hecuba, " She even in death showed much care 
to fall decently." 


* * 

March ?.j .S6*. Perpetua, Felicitas, &c. 113 

she saw on her body and clothes the marks of what she had 
suffered. She called for her brother, and said to him and 
Rusticus, " Continue firm in the faith, love one another, 
and be not distressed at our sufferings." All the martyrs 
were now brought to the place of their butchery. But the 
people, not yet satisfied with beholding blood, cried out to 
have them led into the middle of the ampitheatre, that they 
might have the pleasure of seeing them receive the last 
blow. Upon this, some of the martyrs rose up, and having 
given one another the kiss of peace, went of their own 
accord into the arena; others were despatched without 
speaking, or stirring out of the places they were in. S. Per- 
petua fell into the hands of a very timorous and unskilful 
apprentice of the gladiators, who, with a trembling hand, 
gave her many slight wounds, which made her languish a 
long time. Thus, says S. Augustine, did two women, 
amidst fierce beasts and the swords of gladiators, vanquish 
the devil and all his fury. The day of their martyrdom was 
the 7th of March, as it is marked in the most ancient 
martyrologies, and in a Roman Martyrology as old as the 
year 554. S. Prosper says they suffered at Carthage, 
which agrees with all the circumstances. Their bodies 
were preserved in the great church of Carthage, in the 5th 
century, as Victor of Utica relates. The body of S. Per- 
petua is said to be preserved at Bologna, in the Church of 
the Franciscians, but it is very questionable whether it is 
that of the S. Perpetua of Carthage, whose passion has just 
been narrated. 

vol. in. 8 
* ,3, 

, * 

U4 Lives of the Saints. [March?. 


(a.d. 308.) 

[By the Greeks on Feb. 3rd, in conjunction with S. Adrian ; but by tlk- 
Roman Martyrology on this day, and S. Adrian on March 5th. Authority : 
Eusebius, Hist. Eccl. lib. viii., c. 11.] 

In the persecution in Palestine, carried out under the 
ferocious governor Firmilian, Adrian and Eubulus, natives 
of Mangansea, suffered. They came to Csesarea, and were 
asked the cause of their coming, as they entered the gates 
of the city. They confessed that they had come to see and 
minister to the martyrs of Jesus Christ. They were at once 
apprehended and brought before Firmilian. He ordered 
them to be scourged and torn with hooks, and then to be 
devoured by the beasts. After the lapse of two days, on 
the third of the nones of March, Adrian was cast before a 
lion, and afterwards slain with the sword. Eubulus was also 
reserved to the nones of March, and was then cast to the 
beasts. He was the last to suffer for the faith at Caesarea 
in that persecution. 


(4TH CENT.) 

[Greek Mencea and Roman Martyrology on the same day. But some 
Latin Martyrologies on Dec. i8th, others on Jan. nth. Authorities: 
Palladius, in his Hist. Lausiaca ; Ruffinus, in his Lives of the Fathers of 
the Desert ; and Sozomen, Hist. Eccles., lib. i., c. 13.] 

Paul the Simple was one of the first disciples of S. 
Antony. He did not embrace the religious life till he was 
sixty, and then it was in consequence of the bad conduct 
of his wife. He had been a labourer in a village of the 
Thebaid, and was very ignorant. He came to S. Antony, 
but the patriarch of hermits refused to admit him, thinking 

* * 

_ * 

March?.] S. Paul the Simple. 115 

him too old to adopt the monastic life. Paul, however, re- 
mained three days and nights outside the cell of Antony, 
and would not leave. Antony then came forth, and found 
that the man had no food ; he, therefore, received him for 
a while, hoping to disgust him with the life of a hermit by 
the severity of his discipline. He set Paul to pray outside 
his door, and told him not to desist till he was released. 
The simple old labourer obeyed, and Antony observed him, 
unseen, praying with the blazing sun shining down on his 
head at noon-day, and the moon looking on him at night, 
as rigid and immoveable as one of the date palms of the 
desert He then brought him into his cave, and gave him 
some platting to do. When it was accomplished he rebuked 
Paul for his having doing it badly, and bade him undo his 
work again. The postulant did as ordered without a mur- 
mur. Then Antony brought bread, and set the table in 
order for supper, and called the hungry Paul to it ; then he 
said, " Before we eat, let us recite twelve psalms and twelve 
prayers," and he did so ; and when the psalms and prayers 
were done, Antony said, " We have looked on the bread, 
that will suffice for supper ; now let us retire to rest." Yet 
Paul murmured not ; so Antony saw that he was qualified 
to be a monk. 

Once, as Antony and some of his guests were discoursing 
on spiritual matters, Paul asked very simply, " Were the 
prophets before Jesus Christ, or Jesus Christ before the 
prophets?" Then Antony reddened, and bade him keep 
in the background, and hold his tongue. Now Paul at once 
obeyed, and remained for some time silent, and out of 
sight, and they told Antony of it Then he said, " Oh, my 
brethren ! learn from this man what our obedience towards 
God ought to be. If I say anything, he does it instantly 
and cheerfully, and we do we thus behave towards our 

* * 

* (J, 

1 1 6 Lives of the Saints. [March;. 


(A.D. 1274.) 

[The oldest notices of S. Thomas are found in Gerard de Fracheto ; in 
Thos. Cantipratensis ; Stephen de Salanacho ; Tocco, a Dominican, who 
had seen S. Thomas, and heard him preach, left an account of his life and 
miracles, this work formed the basis of the labours of the Inquisition into 
our saint's miracles, held in 1319. This, and the bull of his canonization, 
issued by John XXII., in 1323, is the foundation of the first part of Guido's 
life and acts of S. Thomas ; the latter part contains the miracles substan- 
tiated at the second Inquisition, or those told on trustworthy authority. 
There are many other lives, as also histories of the translations of his body. 
John XXII. ordered his festival to be kept as that of a confessor, on March 
7th ; Pius V., in 1567, ordered it to be honoured in the same manner as 
were the feasts of the Four Doctors of the Church.] 

" The age of S. Thomas Aquinas," says Bareille, " was 
that of Innocent III., and of S. Louis, of Albert the Great, 
and of Roger Bacon, of Giotto, and of Dante. That age 
witnessed the birth of the cathedral of Cologne, and the 
Summa Theologiae, of the Divine Comedy, and La Sainte 
Chapelle, of the Imitation of Jesus Christ, and the cathe- 
dral of Amiens. It was so fruitful in great men and great 
monuments, that it would need an entire volume to give a 
complete list of both. When we wander amidst the marvels 
of the thirteenth century, we are astonished at the injustice 
done to it through the ignorance of mankind. 

"This astonishment is increased when we consider more 
attentively the vast movement which was then going on in 
the bosom of mankind. This was the age in which the 
Universities of Oxford and Paris were founded, in which 
S. Louis established his kingdom on a legitimate basis ; in 
which the barons wrung the Magna Charta from king John ; 
in which the great religious orders of S. Dominic and S. 
Francis sprung up ; in which gunpowder was invented, the 
telescope discovered, the laws of gravitation recognized ; in 
which the principles of political representation and of par- 

* * 




March, p. no.j 

[March 7. 

* q* 

March 7 .] kS. Thomas Aquinas. 117 

liamentary debate sprang into fresh life ; in which, lastly, 
the great nationalities of modern times were settling them- 
selves decisively into their places. In the middle of this 
century S. Thomas appeared. This man sums up in his 
own person all that was purest and strongest in his age ; he 
is a personification of that power which subjugates all other 
powers to its sway the power of great ideas. 

" Hitherto men have seen in S. Thomas nothing but the 
pious cenobite, or, at best, the saintly and profound theolo- 
gian, who theorises in his cloister, scarce deigning to bestow 
a glance on the age in which he lives. But if we study the 
real facts of his history, if we put his works in connection 
with his actions, we see in him one of those active and 
impressionable minds which keep an anxious watch over 
the ideas of their time, either to array against them all the 
fulness of their power, as a dam against their disorderly 
movements, or to dash into their midst and to master them 
by guiding them. His was, indeed, an extraordinary genius, 
whose power contemporary minds were forced to recognize, 
whether they came to bruise themselves against his logic, or 
whether they came to submit themselves to his direction. 
He reigned in both ways, but more by seconding, than by 
checking, the movements of his age." 

S. Thomas, " the most saintly of the learned, and the 
most learned of the saints," sprang from a noble race. His 
mother, Theodora, was descended from the Caraccioli, a 
Norman family, and was countess of Hano in her own right. 
Her ancestors had left Normandy 200 years before, and 
having driven the Saracens and Greeks out of the plains of 
Southern Italy, had established themselves at Naples and 
Messina, and having made prisoner the Roman pontiff, had 
received the crown from his trembling hands. 

Landulf, Theodora's husband, of the house of Somma- 
coli, otherwise called Counts of Loreto, Ditcerra, and Bel- 

* * 


u8 Lives of the Saints. [March 7. 

castro, belonged to one of the most remarkable families of 
middle Italy. His father, Thomas, achieved so high a 
military reputation, that the emperor, Frederick Barbarossa, 
nominated him Lieutenant-General of the Holy Roman 
empire, and gave him his sister, Frances of Suabia, to wife. 
His ancestors had been Dukes of Capua, but when their 
inheritance was wrested from them, they assumed the title 
of Aquino, and settled themselves between the Volturno 
and the Garigliano. In the reign of Otto III., one of 
these rough warriors took Rocca Sicca from the abbot of 
Monte Cassino, and levelled it with the ground (996). 
Thus S. Thomas was nephew of Frederick the First and 
Henry the Fourth, and cousin of Frederick the Second, 
and could claim connection with the royal houses of Arra- 
gon, Sicily, and France. Yet, noble and illustrious as he 
was by birth, he was to be made nobler and more illustrious 
still by the brightness of his virtues and by the splendour of 
his intellect. 

The saint's father seems to have combined a martial spirit 
with a firm devotion to the faith. Theodora, a woman of 
immense energy of character, kept herself in control by 
severe fasts and frequent vigils. The little town of Aquino 
occupies the centre of a vast and fertile plain, commonly 
called Campagna Felice. One of the rugged mountains 
which hem it in on all sides pushes forward a spur, called 
Rocca Sicca ; on the summit of this crag still stand the 
ruins of the castle of the Aquinos. It was in a chamber 
of this castle that a Dominican friar appeared to Theodora, 
and exclaimed, " Rejoice, O lady, for thou art with child, 
and thou shalt bring forth a son, whom thou shalt call 
Thomas ; both thou and thy husband will think to make 
him a monk in the monastery of Monte Cassino, where the 
body of blessed Benedict rests, hoping to obtain possession 
of the great income of that monastery by his elevation, but 

* * 

% , * 

March;.] .S. Tliomas Aquinas. 119 

God has ordained otherwise concerning him, for he will 
become a brother of the Order of Preachers, and famous for 
his knowledge and the sanctity of his life." 1 She replied, 
" I am not worthy to bear such a son ; but may the will of 
God be done !" In due course Theodora gave birth to 
him, who was afterwards called the Angelic Doctor, in the 
same year that S. Louis became king, and S. Francis of 
Assisi died. The date, however, is contested. Most 
trustworthy authorities put it at the year 1227. Some say it 
took place at Rocca Sicca, some at Aquino, others at Bel- 
castro. Theodora had two other boys, both of whom 
adopted a military life ; and three daughters : the eldest 
became a nun, and died an abbess ; the second married 
Count San Severino ; the youngest, when an infant, was 
sleeping with Thomas and his nurse, when a fork of light- 
ning shot through the castle window, burnt the little girl to 
death, but left S. Thomas uninjured in his nurse's arms. 

At the age of five, S. Thomas was sent to Monte Cassino, 
his parents hoping, in spite of the prophecy, if the prophecy 
had ever been really uttered, that he would eventually join 
the order, and become master of those vast possessions 
which were under the dominion of its abbots. The monas- 
tery in the early days of S. Thomas was the most distin- 
guished school of letters in the land. The little child was 
doubtless dedicated to God, as others were ; he was brought 
into the sanctuary in the arms of his parents, he spoke by 
their mouth, as at the font, he put out his tiny hand for the 
sacred corporal to be wrapped round it, and thus vowed 
himself to God. The education of the child was committed 
to a large-hearted and God-fearing man, whose chief object 
was to fill his soul with God. As a result of this training it 
came to pass that S. Thomas's constant question to his 

1 Such is the legend, but possibly it may have been coined after the death of S. 

& . * 

* >J, 

i 20 Lives of tJie Saints. [March?. 

teachers was, " What is God ?" Doubtless, they answered 
him in the apostle's words, " God is love." The personal 
appearance of the young S. Thomas indicated the presence 
of a governing spirit ; not the command of brute force, but 
the command of intellect. He possessed that rare class of 
spiritual beauty which tells of gentleness, purity, and power. 
His massive head betokened strength ; his broad tranquil 
brow, his meditative eyes, produced the impression, not so 
much of quickness and vivacity, as of breadth and com- 
mand. He seemed to live in a sort of spiritual light, as 
the sunbeam striking upon a landscape naturally beautiful 
invests it with a kind of transfiguration. Though he seldom 
spoke, when he ( did speak, he set hearts beating faster; and 
often, whilst thus conversing with his companions, the 
monks would approach the little gathering by stealth, to 
listen to the precocious wisdom of this extraordinary child. 

After seven years quiet study, S. Thomas was forced to 
take refuge with his family from the violence of the imperial 
soldiers, who had sacked the abbey, and made a prey of all 
its wealth in plate and gems, the legacies of emperors, 
kings, and knights. The change to the feudal castle of 
Loreto must have been a violent one for the young saint 
The tramp of armed men, the free carousing, the shouts 
and songs of mirth, must have been sources of temptation 
to a boy of twelve, whose life had hitherto been passed in 
the silence of the cloister, or amid the sacred songs of the 
monks, but the holy impressions already made on his soul 
shielded it from corruption. 

An anecdote is related of him at this period which shows 
how full his young heart was of charity. During his sojourn 
at Loreto, a terrible famine ravaged Southern Italy. The 
Aquinos were extremely charitable to the poor, and Thomas 
acted as his father's almoner. But not satisfied with this, 
he sometimes stole secretly into the kitchen, filled his cloak 



March?.] S. Thomas Aquinas. 121 

with whatever came to hand, and hurried to the castle gate 
to divide his spoils amongst the famishing people. Having 
been reprimanded for doing so, he still persisted ; but one 
day, as he was carrying his cloak full of provisions, he met 
his father unexpectedly, and was commanded to show what 
he was hiding with so much care. The child let fall his 
burden, but in the place of bread, a shower of flowers hid 
the feet of the boy, and the old man, Landulf, burst into 
tears, and, embracing his son, bade him follow at liberty the 
inspirations of his charity. 

His parents determined to send S. Thomas to the Uni- 
versity of Naples, which was then at the height of its 
prosperity. Tasti states that he commenced the study of 
theology under the profound Erasmus, the Benedictine pro- 
fessor of that science in the University. Tocco states, 
however, that the abbot of Monte Cassino advised his 
removal from Monte Cassino, and his being placed at the 
University of Naples, where he studied grammar and logic 
under Martin, and natural science under Peter de Hibernia. 

It was the custom for the students, after the professor had 
delivered his lecture, to present themselves at a stated time, 
and deliver what they had heard before their companions 
in the schools. When it came to S. Thomas's turn, he 
repeated the lectures with greater depth of thought, and 
greater lucidity of method, than the learned professor him- 
self was able to command. 

A youth, who was a more brilliant expositor of truth than 
its professors, would surely, during his stay in the gay centre 
of Southern Italy, have observed with interest the various 
phases of the period in which he lived ; he must have felt, 
too, that an organized power alone could meet the world. 
He saw what an immense power monasticism had been in 
the age which was passing away. But he also perceived 
that the world had changed. The efforts of the solitaries 

* * 


122 Lives of the Saints. [March 7. 

and contemplatives had not been able to direct its course. 
Citeaux and Clairvaux had done a work indeed, but it was 
not the work of directing the stream of human thought 
They had not perceptibly affected the world. The old 
methods seemed to have dropped out of use. Discovery, 
and travel, and enterprise excited the imagination of the 
men of that age ; they loved activity better than meditation. 
They congregated in towns, and the teaching of the monas- 
tery gave way to the excitement and uproar of university 

What then? Thomas would ask himself, is the instru- 
ment, or the organization adapted to oppose the powers of 
the world ? 

The Order of S. Francis, and that of S. Dominic, were 
created by the Church for resisting the mighty pressure. 
The former, in its characteristics of poverty and love, the 
latter, in its specialities of eloquence and learning, were 
designed to manifest the perfection of Christianity in a 
world full of the pomp of riches and the maddening influ- 
ences of pantheistic mysticism. These two Orders had 
chairs at Naples. Probably young Aquino was struck by 
the devotedness and ability of the Dominican professors. 
The special scope of the Order, its love for learning, its 
active ministrations to humanity, while still retaining the 
self-restraint of solitaries, and the humility of monks, must 
have struck a new chord, or an old cord in a new fashion, 
in the heart of the saint. Anyhow, he soon became inti- 
mate with the Fathers of the Order, and especially with his 
dear friend, John a Sancto Facundo. 

In the end, S. Thomas, who was then either sixteen or 
seventeen years old, petitioned for the habit of S. Dominic. 
The fathers determined to put his perseverance to the proof. 
They required him to make the demand in public. On the 
day appointed, from a very early hour, the church was 




* * 

March .] S. Thomas Aquinas. 123 

flooded by a great crowd, amongst which might be observed 
persons of the highest distinction in the city. The religious 
of the house ranged themselves in the choir. Thomas ad- 
vanced into the midst of these two clouds of witnesses, and 
received from the Superior, Fra Tomaso d' Agni di Lentino, 
the badges of penance and subjection. When S. Thomas 
entered the order, John of Germany was general (1239- 
1254), and a constellation of famous men shone with a 
steady light from the Corona Fratrum. In Germany there 
was Albertus Magnus. Hugh of S. Caro edified all France 
by his sanctity ; and Peter of Verona, and John of Vicenza, 
were its ornaments in Italy. 

It may be imagined that Theodora was not pleased when 
she heard of the ceremony from the lamentations of some 
of her vassals, who had seen the young count dressed up as 
a Dominican friar. She forthwith hastened to Naples with 
a large retinue. No sooner did the Dominicans learn that 
she was on her way, than they hurried the boy off, some 
say at his own request with several companions, to Rome, 
by a different route from that usually followed by travellers. 

Theodora speedily followed him to Rome. In vain she 
tried to obtain a sight of him by entreaties the most implor- 
ing, and by threats the most indignant. She then bewailed 
her hard lot amongst the Roman nobility, and denounced 
to the pope the rapacity of the friars, who had robbed her 
of her boy. 

The Dominicans, dreading her influence in the city, sent 
S. Thomas to Paris. Theodora, hearing of his departure, 
sent off a courier to his two brothers, who were ravaging 
Lombardy with a band of Frederick's soldiers, beseeching 
them to secure the fugitive. They set guards to watch the 
passes through which the Dominicans could escape. As 
the friars lay resting under a tree, near Acquapendente, 
they were surrounded by armed men, and Thomas found 


* , 

1 24 Lives of the Saints. [March ?. 

himself a prisoner in the hands of his brothers. The two 
young soldiers behaved with great brutality to the saint, and 
forcing him on horseback, they carried him to San 

His mother made use of every argument she could invent 
to turn him from his purpose; she brought into play all 
the passions of her nature, her tears, her entreaties, her 
threats, her love; but without effect. Perceiving that he 
remained unmoveable, she threw him into prison, and set 
guards to watch outside. His sisters seconded their 
mother ; they alone were allowed to wait on him, and they 
practised all their arts to turn him from his vocation. But 
in the end, his calm deportment, his resignation and tender- 
ness, won them over. They put him in a position to 
communicate with the brethren. The saint procured a 
Bible, the Book of the " Sentences," and some of the works 
of Aristotle, and learned them by heart Thus it was that 
he prepared himself for his mighty labours in the future. 

His brothers persevered in their attempts to force him 
from religion. They were furious when they found that, 
far from being changed himself, Thomas had converted 
both his sisters. They forbade the girls to approach him ; 
and bursting in upon him, insulted him with brutal jests, 
and ended by tearing his habit, piece by piece, from off his 
back. Then Brother John of S. Giuliano brought another 
habit for him from Naples, which he had concealed beneath 
his own. This made his brothers more enraged than 
before. They formed the infamous expedient of hiring a 
prostitute, and shutting her up in the cell with Thomas. 
While waiting the issue, a fearful shriek proceeding from 
the prison, summoned the two brothers; they arrived in 
time to see the girl rushing away in an agony of terror, and 
the young man chasing her with a blazing brand, which he 
had plucked out of the fire. Even the brutality of the 

* * 

gr .,, 

March 7.] J?. Thomas ^Aquinas. 125 

young soldiers was overcome by this; and from that day 
forth, they ceased their persecutions. 

Before his death, the saint told his familiar friend, 
Rainald, that no sooner had the girl been driven out, than 
he made a cross with the charred brand upon the wall, and 
casting himself upon his knees before it, made a vow of 
chastity for life. Whilst thus praying, he fell into a calm 
sleep, and was vouchsafed a vision. He saw angels de- 
scending from the clouds, who bound his loins with the 
girdle of continence, and armed him for life as the warrior 
of Heaven. This girdle is said to have been given after 
his death to the Dominicans of Vercelli, who refused to 
part with it at the command of a pope. 

Still his relations kept him in confinement, some say for 
two years, and would have detained him longer, had it not 
been for the influence of the Dominicans with the pope. 
The holy father was roused. He not only brought the case 
before the emperor, but he ordered him to set the prisoner 
free, and threatened to visit the perpetrators of the outrage 
with condign punishment Frederick, having latterly been 
humiliated by the Viterbesi, and having, in consequence, been 
abandoned by some of his supporters, was not sorry for 
an opportunity of gratifying the pontiff. Orders were at 
once sent to Landolf and Rainald to set the captive free. 
Still these stubborn soldiers with their haughty mother 
would take no active steps to give Thomas his liberty. 
However, his sisters informed John of S. Giuliano of the 
position of affairs, and he at once hurried to the castle 
accompanied by one or two companions. And finally, the 
girls let their brother down, through the window, like an- 
other S. Paul, into the hands of his delighted brethren 
below, who at once hurried him off to Naples. 

Tocco says that John of S. Giuliano, others that Tomaso 
d'Agni diLentino, was Superior of the Convent, and received 


* ' * 

126 Lives of the Saints. [March,. 

our saint's profession. Theodora, repenting that she had let 
him escape, applied to the pope to annul his vows. The 
holy father sent for S. Thomas, and questioned him in 
the presence of the court. He, with his natural modesty, 
and yet with gentle firmness, told the pope how unmistake- 
able was the voice which had called him to religion, and 
implored the holy father to protect him. Innocent, and 
the prelates about him, could not suppress their emotion. 
The pope acted with great benevolence. Knowing Theo- 
dora's weakness, he proposed to make Thomas abbot of 
Monte Cassino, whilst still allowing him to wear the habit 
of S. Dominic, and to partake of the privileges of the friars. 
His mother and his brothers implored Thomas to accept 
the tempting offering. But he was inexorable. He 
besought the pope to leave him to abide in his vocation. 
Thenceforward his mother no longer worried him, and 
his brothers left him alone to pursue his own course. 

From the first, the Dominicans seem to have had a kind 
of fore-knowledge of the great combat that would have to 
be waged in the arena of human reason. From the first, 
with prudence, forethought, and wise economy, they pre- 
pared a system for turning the abilities of their members to 
the fullest account. With them no intellect was lost. 
Power was recognised, trained, and put in motion. Those 
who were less gifted, were set to less intellectual employ- 
ments : those who had great powers were fitted to become 
lights of the world and ornaments of the Order. With 
such an intellectual capital as our saint possessed, he might 
fairly have been set to work in the active ministrations of 
his Order. But, fortunately, his superiors were men who 
looked into the future, and knew how a present sacrifice 
would be repaid. Thus, instead of looking on S. Thomas's 
education as finished, they considered it as only just begun. 
Who was to be his master to ripen his active mind? 


Jr _ >% 

March?.] .S*. Thomas Aquinas. 127 

This question John of Germany, 4th General of the 
Dominicans, must have asked himself. At last he set out 
with S. Thomas on foot, from Rome to Paris, and from 
Paris to Cologne, where Albertus Magnus then was. It is 
related that as they descried the beauty of Paris in the 
distance, the general turned to Thomas and said, "What 
would you give to be king of that city ?" " I would rather 
have S. Chrysostom's treatise on S. Matthew," replied the 
young man, " than be king of the whole of France." 

S. Thomas met his match in Albertus Magnus. Nothing is 
a greater blessing for a master-mind than to come in contact 
with another master-mind, more highly educated, and with 
a more matured experience than itself. Albert was born of 
noble family at Lavingen, in Suabia, (1193 a.d.) Some say 
that, like S. Isidore, he was dull as a boy. At Padua, where 
he was studying medicine and mathematics, he was drawn 
by Brother Jordan's eloquence to join the Dominicans. He 
was sent to Bologna, then the second centre of the intel- 
lectual world. Next he began to teach. As a lecturer he 
was unrivalled : all classes thronged into the hall of this 
extraordinary man. The logic, ethics, and physics of 
Aristotle, and portions of Holy Writ, were the subject 
matter of his lectures. After settling at Cologne, he was 
summoned to Paris in 1228, to put the studies on a footing 
to meet the requirements of the age. Then he returned to 
Cologne. It was at this period that he first met S. Thomas, 
who became his favourite disciple, and to whom, in private, 
he opened the stores of his capacious mind. 

The companions of S. Thomas in Albert's school, were 
men filled with the impression that to exert the reasoning 
faculties in debating scholastic questions, was one of the 
principal ends of all philosophy. It is not extraordinary 
that such men as these, when they saw young Aquino so 
silent, should imagine that nothing occupied his thoughts ; 



128 Lives of the Saints. [Marcnj. 

especially when they perceived that he was equally reserved 
in school. They soon came to the conclusion that he was 
a naturally obtuse lad. What is more strange is this, that 
Albert at first held him to be deficient. He was called by 
master and pupils, "the great dumb Sicilian ox." Once, 
when studying in his cell, he heard a voice crying to him, 
' Brother Thomas, here ! quick, look at this flying ox !" 
When S. Thomas went to the window, he was received with 
shouts of derision. In explanation he said incisively : " I 
did not believe an ox could fly, nor did I, till now, believe 
that a religious could tell a lie." 

A companion one day offered to assist him in his lesson. 
S. Thomas assented; presently his friend came to a hard 
passage, which was beyond his depth, the saint took the 
book from him, and explained the passage with great clear- 
ness. Albert had selected a difficult question from the 
writings of Dionysius the Areopagite; this the scholars 
passed to S. Thomas ; he took it to his cell ; and first 
stating all the objections that could be made against it, he 
then answered them. A brother picked up this paper, and 
carried it to Albert. His master ordered him to defend a 
thesis the next day before the whole school. Thomas 
spoke with such clearness, established his thesis with 
such dialectical skill, saw so far into the difficulties of 
the case, and handled the whole subject in so masterly 
a manner, that Albert exclaimed, "Thou seemest to me 
not to be defending the case, but to be deciding it." 
"Master," he replied, "I know not how to treat the 
question otherwise." Albert, to test him further, started 
objections, but Thomas solved every difficulty so success- 
fully, that Albert cried out, " We call this youth ' Dumb 
Ox,' but the day will come when the whole world will re- 
sound with his bellowing." 

In 1245, it was determined by the Dominican Chapter 

4f % 

March, p. 128.] 

S. THOMAS AQUINAS. After Cahier. 

[March 7. 

March?.] S- Thomas Aquinas. 129 

that Albert should leave Cologne for Paris, and that 
Thomas should finish his three years under him there. 

The one absorbing science of the middle ages was the- 
ology. Learning, in all its branches, pointed to the study of 
religion as the great terminus of the human mind, and the 
one right road from heaven to earth. The liberal arts were 
but a careful and laborious preparation for philosophy or 
logic; logic, in turn, was only valuable inasmuch as it was 
an instrument for the ordering, defending, and proving the 
great truths of revelation. The great object of life was to 
know God. Jacques de Vitry beautifully says, "All science 
ought to be referred to the knowledge of Christ." It may 
be laid down roughly that the Scriptures, Peter Lombard's 
Book of Sentences, and Aristotle, were the three great 
bases on which the active intellect of the 13th century 
rested in its development and analysis of truth. 

The students of the Paris University may be divided into 
three classes : those who lived in seminaries, those who lived 
in monasteries, and those who lived as best they could. Some 
were destitute, living on charity, or in hospitia ; others were 
rich and lordly, great spendthrifts and swaggerers, studying 
out of mere curiosity, or pure conceit. 

John of S. Alban had founded a hospitium for pilgrims, 
with a chapel dedicated to S. James ; this he handed over 
to the Dominicans, which gift the University confirmed on 
condition that mass was said for its living and dead mem- 
bers twice a year. Thus the Dominicans came in contact 
with the University. From the first they attended the 
theological schools of the Church of Paris. S. Louis built 
them a convent, and at his death left them a part of the 
library he had collected at the Sainte Chapelle. Novices were 
taught Latin and logic; and disputations echoed in the 
cloister. Meditation was made to counterbalance the 
excitement of study. 

vol. in. 9 
* * 

130 Lives of the Saints. [March 7 . 

The lectures were given in large halls. In the middle 
stood the chair of the master, with another seat below, and 
in front of him a stool for the bachelor who was going through 
his training. If there was not room on the benches, the stu- 
dents sat on the straw which covered the floor. The teaching 
was principally done by question and answer, by exposition, 
repetition, and disputation. No book was used, the teacher 
might have the text before him, and sometimes the stu- 
dents took notes in shorthand, which they wrote out at 
their leisure. 

Nothing has been handed down, of any moment, regard- 
ing the studies of S. Thomas at Paris during this period. 
Albert was at the height of his reputation. His lecture- 
hall was so crowded, that he was forced to lecture in a 
square, near Notre Dame, known as the Place Maubert 

The same year in which S. Thomas finished his studies 
(1248), a general chapter of Dominicans was held at Paris. 
Here it was ruled that four new schools should be started 
on the model of that at Paris. Bologna for Lombardy; 
Montpellier for Provence; Oxford for England; Cologne 
for Germany. Albert was to take the chair at Cologne, 
re-arrange the studies, and be regent ; whilst Thomas, who 
was not twenty-three, was to be second professor, and 
" Magister Studentium." Albert's old reputation attracted 
crowds. Thomas was not long before he also acquired a 
brilliant reputation. 

His distinctions, even compared with those of Albert, 
were so new, his arguments so ingenious, that all were 
dazzled at his great ability. It was at Cologne that he first 
gave evidence as a teacher, of that depth, balance, and 
expansion, which, in after life, made him the weightiest of 
authorities on the most momentous of religious questions. 
In his treatment of the Scripture and of the Sentences, he 
had ample opportunity for displaying his many-sided gifts. 

*> * 


March 7.j 6*. Thomas Aquinas. 131 

Nor did he confine himself to teaching in the schools. 
He preached and wrote. His first pieces were " De Ente et 
Essentia," and " De Principiis Naturae." These two works 
contain the germ of a future system, and were remarkable 
productions for a youth of twenty-two. 

The saint's practice in teaching, and the accuracy he 
acquired by writing, from an early age, were of great assist- 
ance to him in developing his powers. He possessed, 
moreover, a gift most valuable at all times calmness 
and self-possession, which was the result, partly of edu- 
cation, greatly of character; partly of breadth of mind, 
and chiefly of grace. Under the most trying provocation 
he was never known to lose his self-control. 

His humility and sweetness came out strikingly when 
arguing in the schools. Though his opponent, in the heat 
of disputation, might forget himself, Thomas never did. 

Once, when a young student arrogantly defended a thesis 
of which he knew the saint did not approve, he was suffered 
to proceed in silence. But the next day, when he continued 
his argument with still greater arrogance, the saint with 
infinite sweetness, but crushing power, put a few questions, 
made a few distinctions, and upset the student with such 
ease, first on one point, then on another, that the whole 
school was in an uproar of admiration. Both the youth 
and his fellows were taught a lesson which they did not 
easily forget. Again, while he was preaching at S. James's, 
an official of the University walked up the church, and 
beckoned the saint to stop, and then read out an offensive 
document, drawn up by the secular party, in opposition to 
the Friars' Preachers. When the congregation had some- 
what recovered from their surprise, S. Thomas proceeded 
with his sermon with undisturbed composure. 

Conrad De Guessia, his intimate friend, declared him to 
be : "A man of holy life and honest conversation, peaceful, 



132 Lives of the Saints. [March . 

sober, humble, quiet, devout, contemplative, and chaste ; so 
mortified that he cared not what he ate or what he put on. 
Every day he celebrated with great devotion, or heard, one 
or two masses ; and except in times proper for repose, he 
was occupied in reading, writing, praying or preaching." 

" His science, says Rainald, was not acquired by natural 
talent, but by the revelation and the infusion of the Holy 
Ghost, for he never set himself to write without having first 
prayed and wept. When he was in doubt, he had recourse 
to prayer, and with tears he returned, instructed and en- 
lightened in his uncertainty." 

It was about this time that S. Thomas was ordained 
priest. It is mortifying that no certain information can be 
procured regarding the time at which it took place. All 
his biographers lay stress on his great devotion while 
celebrating. He was frequently rapt in spirit whilst at mass, 
when the tears would spring to his eyes, and flow copiously. 
After mass, he prepared his lectures, and then went to the 
schools. Next, he wrote or dictated to several scribes ; then 
he dined, returned to his cell, and occupied himself with 
Divine things till time for rest ; after which he wrote again, 
and thus ordered his life in the service of his Master. 

The duty of preaching also fell upon him. A man so 
filled with the Spirit of God would, almost of necessity, 
manifest the passion which ruled supreme. His reputation 
even at this period was great enough to draw a large con- 
gregation into the Dominican Church. 

The language in which at this period sermons were 
preached was the vernacular. Even when written in Latin, 
and this was generally the case, they were delivered to the 
people in the vernacular. 

The biographers of S. Thomas speak of the simplicity of 
his sermons. Once, in a discourse on the Passion, during 
Lent, he so vividly brought home to the congregation the 


gf _g 

March?.] ,5". Thomas Aquinas. 133 

sufferings of the cross, and drew so touching a picture of 
the compassion, mercy, and love of Christ, that his words 
were interrupted by the passionate crying of the people. On 
Easter Day, his sermon on the Resurrection filled the con- 
gregation with such jubilant triumph that they could scarcely 
be restrained from giving public expression to their feelings. 

In manner he was gentle, calm, self-possessed. Tocco 
says that preaching at Naples on the text, " Hail, Mary !" 
he was seen to keep his eyes closed in the pulpit, and his 
head in a position as if he were looking into heaven : he 
tells us also that the people reverenced his word as if it 
came from the mouth of God. 

In the two hundred and twenty-five skeleton sermons 
which he has left, he divides his subject into three or four 
grand divisions, which are again sub-divided into three or 
four sections. 

After four years at Cologne our saint received orders to 
take his degree at Paris, (1248.) The Dominicans wished 
to place their most promising subjects there, that the 
Order might maintain its credit. Albert and Cardinal 
Hugh of S. Charo were instrumental in his removal : the 
former saw that the saint possessed all the needed qualifi- 
cations for a professorship ; a work requiring something 
more than learning tact and temper. 

Thomas, when he heard of it, was much concerned. His 
distaste for honour and position made him wish to be left 
alone. Nevertheless, in obedience to authority, he set out 
to beg his way to Paris. He passed through Brabant and 
Flanders, and preached before the Duchess Margaret 
The learned men of Paris had heard of his successes at 
Cologne, and he was received by them with marks of 
unusual distinction. 

The Dominican professors of theology at this time were 
Hugh of Metz and Elias Brunetus. It was as teacher in 


* * 

134 Lives of the Saints. [March?. 

the school of Elias that the saint began to expound Holy 
Writ, and the writings of Peter Lombard. His influence over 
young men far surpassed that of any other master. They 
were conscious that his teaching had something about it of 
another world ; and the feeling crept over all, and finally 
mastered them, that he spoke as one " having authority." 
The opinions he then formed, he committed to writing, and 
held them and defended them with little change in his 
maturer years. From his youth he had dedicated himself 
to Wisdom as his spouse. Only one thing he asked for 
that was wisdom. Rainald said, " One thing I know of 
him, that it was not human talent, but prayer, which was the 
secret of his great success. This was his daily prayer: 
' Grant me, I beseech Thee, O merciful God, prudently to 
study, rightly to understand, and perfectly to fulfil that 
which is pleasing to Thee, to the praise and glory of Thy 
Name.'" When a child, if conversation did not turn on 
God, or on matters which tended to edification, the Angeli- 
cal Doctor would go away ; he used to wonder how men, 
especially religious men, could talk of anything but God 
or holy things. He wept for the sins of others, as if they 
had been his own. 

Though ever dwelling in the unseen kingdom, he was 
keenly alive to the tendency of the intellectual world around 
him. His saintliness, and his great ability, seem to have 
pointed him out as destined to sway the philosophical and 
theological tendencies of an age in which the human mind 
was in a condition of flux. The corroding rationalism of 
the school of Abelard, and the dissolving mysticism of the 
East, had to be faced, and to be withstood. Thomas fixed 
himself, therefore, on the immoveable basis of authority, 
and grounded his teaching on the monastic methods of the 
" Sentences." Doubtless the surprise caused by his dis- 
tinctions, and the admiration created by his novelty in 

* * 

*- * 

March 7.j , Thomas Aquinas. 135 

argument, proceeded in great measure from his vivid 
apprehension of the work he had to do, of the enemy he 
was contending with, and of the powers by which alone 
that enemy could be overthrown. He followed Albert, 
but his teaching was more incisive, more definite, more 
strictly to the point 

Many of his disciples became distinguished men. S. 
Thomas assisted others beside his own pupils. Sovereigns, 
cardinals, bishops, superiors of orders, and professors, wrote 
to him for advice, and for solutions of their difficulties. 
The Opusculum on the difference between the Divine and 
human word; and the somewhat larger treatise, on the 
nature of the intellectual word, are full of close reasoning-; 
and state principles which are fundamental regarding the 
method of human knowledge. 

One of the most important of his treatises is that ad- 
dressed "ad Fratrem Rainaldum," on the nature of the 
Angels. It was begun during his bachelorship, but he 
never got beyond the 30th chapter. It shows his grasp of 
some of the cardinal questions of the day, and how master- 
fully he dealt with errors of the most promising minds in the 
Paris schools. 

But whilst thus engaged upon the Scriptures and the 
Lombard, S. Thomas was frequently in the pulpit, and he 
regularly delivered lectures to crowded halls. His versatility, 
his power of abstraction, his astonishing memory, his zealous 
husbanding of time, carried him with ease through works 
which would have broken the spirit of any ordinary man. 
He possessed that marvellous gift which Origen and Caesar 
are said to have had, of being able to dictate to three or 
even four scribes on different and difficult subjects at the 
same time, and that, too, without losing the thread of 
each argument. 

Frigerius says that, as Professor, he elucidated the Sen- 

* K 

136 Lives of the Saints. [March 7 . 

tences with such sublimity of thought that he seemed rather 
the author of the work than its expositor. Tocco, " that 
he surpassed all the masters of the University, and by the 
lucidity of his expositions drew, beyond all others, the in- 
telligences of his disciples towards a love of science." 
Students from every part of Europe nocked around his 

In touching on S. Thomas's commentary on the " Sen- 
tences," the influence of Alexander Hales must not be 
forgotten, but he far eclipsed the Minorite in his proofs of 
the non-eternity of the world a question of momentous 
importance in the Middle Ages, as well as in his discussion 
of the possibility and fitness of the Incarnation. Thomas 
carried his teaching on Grace to such perfection that in the 
Middle Ages it was always received as a standard authority. 

If judged by its bulk, this "Commentary" would seem 
sufficient to have occupied a life. It fills over 1250 pages 
of the large quarto Parma edition, printed in double 
columns. It is a monument of ceaseless labour, great 
skill, and patient thought. 

The work of the Lombard is a confusion compared with 
the lucid style and admirable arrangement of the saint. In 
place of the crabbed inverted language of Peter, we have 
the simple, logical, direct use of words, which go straight 
to the point, and express the complete idea. He has these 
weighty words on the subject of theology, " Since the end 
of all philosophy is contained within the end of theology, 
and is subservient to it, theology ought to command all 
other sciences, and turn to its use those things which they 
treat of." He adds, " The more sublime knowledge is, so 
much greater is its unity, and so much wider the circle of 
its expansion, whence the Divine intellect, which is the 
most sublime of all, by the light, which is God Himself, 
possesses a distinct knowledge of all things." He also 

>j ^ 

* * 

March?.] S. Thomas Aquinas. 137 

shows how the intellect becomes illuminated when led by 
faith, illustrating the motto of the monastic school, " Nisi 
credideritis, non intelligetis." And he shows that theology- 
is deduction, and philosophy induction ; and that the basis of 
theology must be authority, i.e., a Revelation. 

During the Lent of 1250 or 1253, the city patrol came 
in collision with a party of students, killed one of them, 
wounded three others, and carried them off to prison. The 
secular professors of the University refused to lecture, until 
the beadles were punished, but the Dominican and Francis 
can teachers went on with their lectures. When redress 
had been granted to the University for the outrage, that 
body drew up an oath to observe all the laws of the Uni- 
versity, which it was intended should be taken by all persons 
before taking the degree as master. The regulars refused 
to take it; then the University issued a decree, declaring 
the friars excluded from its body, and deprived of their 
chairs. The latter appealed to Rome. The pope com- 
missioned the bishop of Evreux, and Luke, canon of Paris, 
to re-establish the friars in their chairs, which was done. 
This pope dying, his successor issued a bull, binding all to 
stop teaching in case of insult, but re-establishing the friars. 
The king, returning home, stopped the execution of the 
papal briefs. The pope issued another bull more stringent 
than the first. Since 1256, S. Thomas had been lecturing 
as licentiate. At the same time he was enjoying the friend- 
ship of S. Bonaventura, who was lecturing under the 
Franciscan professor. Both men exhibited, in a striking 
manner, the fundamental quality of the order to which they 
respectively belonged. Bonaventura loved to look into the 
placid, earnest soul of Thomas, as into a deep sea, with its 
marvellous transparency, and awful stillness ; whilst Thomas 
was roused and brightened by the ardent gushing nature of 
his friend. S. Thomas was angelical ; S. Bonaventura was 

* * 


138 Lives of the Saints. iMarch 7 . 

seraphic the one, the deep thinker ; the other, the tender 
poet Thomas was famous in the schools for the keenness 
of his thought, and for his depth and clearness ; Bonaven- 
tura for his eloquence and vivacity in exposition ; the former 
was a child of contemplation, the latter of activity. Once 
S. Thomas asked S. Bonaventura to show him the books 
out of which he got his sublime thoughts. " There is the 
book," replied S. Bonaventura, pointing to the crucifix. 
During this time S. Thomas wrote his " Exposition on the 
Apostles' Creed, the Lord's Prayer, the Angelic Salutation, 
the Ten Commandments, and the Law of Love." Another 
work on the " Articles of the Faith and the Sacraments " 
falls within this period, as well as a commentary on Isaiah. 

Meanwhile, William of S. Amour, the celebrated philoso- 
pher and doctor of the University, was endeavouring to 
turn the mendicant Orders out of Paris by getting people to 
withhold their alms, and by forbidding the members of these 
Orders to attend the secular lectures. 

He also endeavoured to fix the authorship of an heretical 
work, called "The Everlasting Gospel," on the Franciscans 
and Dominicans. 

But he himself had written a book, called " Perils of the 
last times." This the king sent by two doctors of theo- 
logy for the pope's examination. The University sent a 
deputation to make the Holy Father acquainted with " The 
Everlasting Gospel." William was leader of this deputa- 
tion. S. Thomas was sent to defend his order; S. Bona- 
ventura that of S. Francis. S. Thomas, after examining the 
" Perils," reported to the Dominican chapter that " God had 
given him grace to discover whatever is false, captious, 
erroneous, impious in it, and that after the holy See had 
pronounced judgment on it, the faithful would only notice 
it to condemn it." In a few days the saint prepared his 
defence of the order, and his answer to the " Perils." He 

* * 

* * 

March?.] ,5". Thomas Aquinas. 139 

pleaded before the pope and sacred college with such suc- 
cess as to gain their applause. 

When he had done, the four cardinals gave in their report 
on the " Perils," which stated that it was full of false doc- 
trine, injurious to the authority of the pope and the bishops, 
and to the honour of several religious orders approved by 
the holy See. After examining the report, the pope con- 
demned the " Perils " by a bull, dated October 5th, 1256, 
and ordered the book to be burnt The deputation from 
the University arrived after the work of their leader had - 
been burnt. They endeavoured to obtain a revocation of 
the condemnation, but, instead, they were compelled to 
take pen and themselves subscribe it They swore, more- 
over, to receive into the body of the University the 
Dominicans and Franciscans, especially SS. Thomas and 
Bonaventura. William of S. Amour refused to comply, 
and being forbidden to enter France, retired to his estate 
in Burgundy. A few years later he was allowed to return 
to Paris. He died in 1270. It was partly in reply to 
William's attack on the religious orders, that S. Thomas 
wrote his Opusculum, " Against those who attack religion 
and the worship of God," and that " Against those 
who hinder men from entering religion," which are the 
best defence and exaltation of monastic principles ever 
penned. 1 

S. Thomas having been recalled by his superiors before 
the winter of the same year (1256), embarked on board 
a ship bound for France. The vessel was overtaken by a 
furious storm ; the pilot and sailors tried every artifice to 
escape the shoals, on which they were being driven by wind 
and wave. Thomas, like a second S. Paul, preserved his 
confidence, and prayed God to give him all the souls that 

1 For this part of the history of S. Thomas, treated at greater length, see " The 
Life and Labours of S. Thomas of Aquin," by the Very Rev. R. B. Vaughan. 

* 4, 

140 Lives of the Saints. [March?. 

were with him. His prayer was heard : the aspect of 
nature changed, and the ship pursued her course in safety. 

Several bulls followed the deputies to Paris. The pru- 
dence and kindness of S. Louis helped greatly to restore 
peace between the University and the friars. The Univer- 
sity seal was set to the summons addressed to SS. Thomas 
and Bonaventura to take their doctor's degrees, which had 
been delayed two years by the troubles. S. Thomas thought 
many other Dominicans more deserving of the honour than 
himself. Whilst sadly meditating on this, he thought an old 
man appeared to him, asking the cause of his sadness. He 
replied, " It is not right that they should force me to take 
rank among the doctors, a thing of which I am not capable." 
The old man said, " The order thou hast received is assur- 
ance enough ; it destroys thy own will, and points to God's 
will in that of thy superiors. Take as the text of thy thesis : 
' He watereth the hills from above : the earth is filled with the 
fruit of Thy works. Ps. ciii. 13.'" On the morrow, after 
a struggle between S. Bonaventura and himself for the last 
place, Thomas, as being the younger, gained it. He 
preached from the text given him, and it has been regarded 
as a prophecy of the influence which the new doctor was to 
exercise over Christendom. The day on which he took his 
degree was the 23rd October, 1257. 

The epoch on which we have now entered is the most 
glorious period of our saint's life. The star of his genius 
mounted, without a cloud to obscure it, in the firmament of 
the Church. In spite of all the eulogies of his contem- 
poraries, it is difficult for us to comprehend now-a-days the 
extent of the power which Aquinas exercised over the men 
and the ideas of his time. 

S. Thomas now drew up his famous "Summa contra 
Gentiles." He begins this treatise by stating that he will 
discuss all questions on the ground of human reason, 

* * 

March 7.] 6". Thomas Aquinas. 141 

seeking therein a common ground on which to combat his 
adversaries, or rather seeking in their natural intelligence a 
point on which to rest that bridge which might lead them 
from human reason to the truth of God ; then he establishes 
the necessity of faith ; he shows next that reason affords 
ground for expecting a supernatural revelation ; lastly, he 
cements together reason and faith. Then he makes his 
general division : he considers God in Himself, in relation 
to men, and men in relation to God. To these three parts 
he joins a fourth, viz., revelation properly so-called ; therein 
he expounds the Trinity, the Incarnation, with all the 
dogmas which attach themselves to it, the whole destiny 
of man in the plan of Christianity. This we may call the 
theological evolution of his great work. In that which may 
be called its philosophical introduction he resolves all such 
difficult questions ; as the falsehood of pantheism, evil and 
its origin, its nature, and its effects, which he turns into a 
proof of God's existence in opposition to those unquiet 
spirits, who saw in it a reason for doubting His existence. 

This work was followed immediately by one upon all the 
Epistles of S. Paul. 

The question of the Eucharistic accidents was then much 
mooted in the schools, especially in those of Paris. The 
question was, whether those accidents had anything real, or 
were only an appearance, in other words, whether the form 
under which Jesus hides Himself in the Eucharist exists in 
the Sacrament itself, or in a false relation of the senses ? 
Wearied with a struggle to which they could foresee no end, 
all the doctors determined to refer the question to the deci- 
sion of S. Thomas, and to accept that decision as conform- 
able to the light of reason and faith. The saint braced 
himself to the contemplation of this subject, and having 
prayed, he wrote as the Spirit inspired him. He was loth 
to take into the presence of the doctors and of the 

* * 

* * 

142 Lives of the Saints. [March?. 

schools, the fruit of his science and his prayer, before he had 
consulted Him of Whom he. was speaking, Whose aid he 
had implored. 

He came to the altar, and placing before the tabernacle 
as before the Master of masters, that which he had written 
on the subject of the controversy, he raised his hands 
towards the image of Jesus crucified, and prayed in this 
fashion : " O Lord Jesu, Who dost verily dwell in this 
wonderful Sacrament, Whose works are incomprehensible 
marvels, I humbly beseech Thee, if what I have written 
about Thee is agreeable to the truth, grant that I may 
teach it, and persuade my brethren of it on Thy behalf; 
but if, on the contrary, there be anything in this writing 
which errs from the Catholic faith, make it impossible for 
me to bring it before their eyes." 

Now the doctor had been followed by his habitual com- 
panion and by several other religious of our order, and they 
saw Jesus Christ standing on the leaves which had been 
written by the hand of Thomas, and saying to him, "Thou 
hast written worthily, my son, of the Sacrament of My 
Body." And the doctor's prayer still continuing, he was 
seen to raise himself nearly to the height of a cubit in the air. 

The author who gives this account says he received it 
from a religious who was at S. James's with S. Thomas. 
The members of the University submitted to the decision, 
though given by a young man of only thirty-two years of age. 

Louis IX. had forced our saint to enter his council cham- 
ber. Whenever an important affair was coming on for 
deliberation in the royal council, the king caused brother 
Thomas to be instructed about it over night, that he might 
reflect thereon in solitude, and might remember it at the 
Sacrifice. He was consulted by the king not so much as 
the man of genius, but as the man of God. 

The saint, in spite of his earnest entreaties to be excused, 


* * 

March m .S". Thomas Aquinas. 143 

was sometimes compelled, both by loyalty and courtesy, to 
appear at the royal table. For a while he would join in the 
general conversation, soon to be withdrawn by his inward 
thoughts. Once, at dinner, after a long silence, he smote 
the table smartly, exclaiming, " That is an overwhelming 
argument against the Manichaeans." His superior bade 
him remember that he was in the king's presence. Thomas 
apologised for his absence of mind. But the king, smiling, 
requested him to dictate to one of his secretaries the argu- 
ment which had engrossed his attention, that it might lose 
none of the force which marks the thoughts of genius at 
their first conception. 

The Dominican Chapter, held at Valenciennes, in 1259, 
appointed Thomas, Albertus Magnus, and Pierre de Taren- 
taise as a commission to establish order and uniformity in 
all schools of the Dominicans. 

Alexander IV. died at Viterbo, on May 25th, 1261. 
Jacques Pantaleon, Latin patriarch of Jerusalem, who was at 
Viterbo imploring protection for the Christians of the East, 
was, to his surprise, raised to the pontifical throne, under 
the title of Urban IV. Wishing to unite into one the 
divided portions of east and west Christianity, he summoned 
S. Thomas to Rome to help him in realising his project It 
was in the same year that S. Thomas came to Rome in 
answer to this appeal. His general gave him at once a 
chair of theology in the Dominican college at Rome, where 
he obtained the like success that had gained at Cologne 
and Paris. Here he wrote his literal commentary on Job, 
and the Catena Aurea. The chain of comments from the 
fathers is so perfect, the links of gold in it are so well 
rivetted to one another, that a biographer says that, " He 
speaks with all, and all speak and explain themselves by 
him." It was dedicated to the Pope, at whose solicitation 
it had been undertaken. 

* g, 


144 Lives of the Saints. [March 7 . 

In the midst of the toil these works must have cost him, 
he did not forget the purpose for which he was summoned. 
All the time he was thinking out and penning his treatise, 
"Contra errores Graecorum." In his hands, and by the 
force of his irresistible logic, he showed that the ancient 
Greek fathers unanimously agreed with those of the Latin 
Church. 1 

This work was sent by the pope at once to Michael, 
emperor of Constantinople, as a message of peace. He 
had just returned to his capital, which Latin princes had 
held for more than half a century. The object of all his 
efforts was to reconstitute the power of the empire. To 
this task he brought an energy, a perseverance, and talents 
hitherto unknown among the sovereigns of that nation. He 
turned his eyes for help towards the pope ; but it was the 
politician, rather than the Christian, that solicited the re- 
establishment of Catholic unity. 

S. Thomas, at the request of an Eastern prince, wrote a 
treatise in refutation of the errors that were rife in that part 
of the world. Nothing could be more modest than the way 
in which he stated his purpose, nothing more grand than the 
way in which he worked it out. 

Urban wished to reward his distinguished services. The 
great wealth he offered, the saint directed should be given to 
the poor. He declined the offer of the patriarchate of 
Jerusalem, and, shortly after, the honour of a cardinal's 
hat, for Thomas had thoroughly realized both the myste- 
rious treasures of voluntary poverty and the hidden force 
of evangelical humility. 

The pope, finding he could not attach our saint to his 

1 It is necessary to point out here that S. Thomas was misled by forgeries in this 
treatise. A Latin theologian, who had resided among the Greeks, composed a catena 
of spurious passages of Greek Councils and Fathers, and in 1261 it was laid before 
Urban IV., who, entirely deceived thereby, sent it to S. Thomas, who also accepted 
it without the least suspicion of its not being genuine. 

* * 

* * 

March 7.] S. Thomas Aquinas. 145 

court by the ties of honours or riches, bade him lecture at 
the various places where he took up his abode, Viterbo, 
Orvieto, Perugia, Fondi. Everywhere a prodigious number 
of pupils pressed around his chair. The churches were too 
small to receive the numbers who flocked to hear him. 
Historians only record one course of Lent sermons preached 
by him in Rome. 

One Christmas-eve he held a disputation with two Jewish 
Rabbis at the villa of a cardinal. After asking them to 
return in the morning, he passed the whole night in medi- 
tation and prayer. The Rabbis returned in the morning, 
but it was to ask for baptism. 

In 1263, Thomas was sent to the Dominican general 
chapter, held in London, as " definitor," in the name of the 
Roman province. 

Soon after his return to Italy, S. Thomas proposed to 
Urban the institution of a special festival throughout the 
Catholic Church in honour of the Holy Sacrament. When 
Urban was archdeacon of Liege, in the convent of Mont 
Cornillon, near one of the gates of the city, a poor re- 
ligious named Juliana (April 3rd), as she prayed had a 
vision of the moon shining in all its splendour, but dis- 
figured by one little breach. She desired to know its mean- 
ing, and an inner voice told her it was the Church, and that 
the breach represented the defect of a festival in honour of 
the Blessed Sacrament. After a time, an ofhce in honour 
of the Blessed Sacrament was drawn up by a young religious. 
Robert de Torote, bishop of Liege, in 1246, appointed 
Thursday, in the octave of Trinity, for this feast. 

Henry of Gueldres succeeded him as bishop, and treated 
the revelations of Juliana as folly. She died on 5th April, 
1258, and left as a legacy to her friend Eve the duty of 
reviving this festival. Eve was a recluse built up in a 
niche of a wall near the church of S. Martin, at Liege, 

vol in. 10 
* * 

* * 

146 Lives of the Saints. iMarch?. 

and through the hole by which she received light, air, and 
alms, besought the canons as they passed to seek out the 
bishop and entreat him to write to the pope on the subject 
of the proposed festival. The bishop did not disdain this 
humble prayer, but transmitted her message to the pope, 
who received at the same time the petition of the first 
doctor in the Church to the same effect. He wrote a letter 
to the poor recluse of S. Martin, in 1264, telling her of the 
issuing of a bull in answer to her prayer, and transmitting a 
copy of the office which the Angelical doctor had drawn up. 

Clement IV, succeeded Urban on the 22nd of February, 
1265. Shortly after his elevation he issued a bull appoint- 
ing S. Thomas archbishop of Naples, and conferring on him 
the revenues of the convent of S. Peter ad Aram. But the 
pope was induced to recall it by the prayers and tears of 
our saint. 

In this year we must place the first commencement of the 
"Summa Theologise.'' This was the greatest monument pro- 
duced by that age. 

Disgusted, as S. Thomas says in his preface, at the exu- 
berance, the disorder, the obscurity of the scholastic treatises 
then extant, he had conceived the plan of a methodical and 
luminous summary, which should contain the whole of 
Christianity from the existence of God to the least precept 
of morality, all the speculative and practical points of re- 
vealed truth following in natural and logical order. 

The saying current at the time, that " some proposition 
was true according to the master, Aristotle, but false accord- 
ing to the Gospel," clearly shows the antagonistic attitude 
occupied by the two powers in the opinion of the schools. 

The " Summa Theologise " is divided into three great but 
unequal parts ; for the second, much larger than the other 
two, is divided into two distinct sections. 

The first part is a complete treatise on all existences, and 



* * 

March?.] S. Thomas Aquinas. 147 

especially on all intellectual existences, from that intelligence 
which is infinite in its nature as in its operations, to the 
intelligence which is bounded and severed by matter. It 
treats of God, of the Holy Angels, their qualities, and their 
abode, and of the Creation. 

The first section of the second part contains a theory of 
man. It treats of happiness, as man's final object, of 
the passions, and of human acts, of the virtues in general, 
of sins, in their origin, nature, and effects. 

The second section is closely allied to the first. It treats 
of the conditions of happiness and the moral laws, the three 
great virtues, Faith, Hope, and Charity. The impulse given 
to the soul by these three theological virtues communicates 
itself to the moral virtues as well ; in treating of them afresh 
S. Thomas forms a universal theory of human duty. 

The third part expounds the whole plan of Redemption. 
After having studied the work of Redemption in itself, S. 
Thomas studies it in its application to each individual. Thus 
he arrives at the theory of the Sacraments. But death did not 
give him time to finish this part of the work. It is inter- 
rupted where he treats on the fourth Sacrament, that of 
penance. An attempt has been made to complete it by 
various extracts from his other works, but one misses in this 
compilation the living hand of genius. 

Before quitting this great subject, one word must be added 
on S. Thomas's method. It may be defined as geometry 
applied to theology. S. Thomas states, first of all, the 
theorem he is about to develope, or the problem which he 
proposes to solve. Then he considers the difficulties and 
solves them. He follows this up with a train of sustenta- 
tions drawn from holy writ, tradition, and theological reason, 
and he ends by a categorical answer to all the objections 
which were made at the beginning. This order is invariably 
observed in every part of the work. 

jj, * 

* _ _* 

148 Lives of the Saints. [March?. 

At the Council of Trent, on a table set in the midst of 
the council chamber, was placed the " Summa," alongside 
of the Holy Scriptures and the decrees of the popes. 
Well might Dante declare that the doctor inhabits a sphere 
above the reach of praise, or, with Lacordaire, exclaim, 
that " God alone can praise this great man in the eternal 
council of the Saints." 

The "Summa Theologise" occupied the last nine 
years of our saint's life. The world was ignorant of the 
monument which was being raised in silence. Thomas 
preached, lectured, wrote as before. 

About this time William of S. Amour republished his 
attack upon the religious orders, under the fresh title of 
" Collectiones S. Scripturse;" our saint replied to it by 
issuing a fresh edition of his defence of the religious 
orders, and this silenced his foe. 

During these nine years, Thomas visited several towns and 
convents of Italy. At Milan he wrote an epitaph on S. Peter 
Martyr. At Bologna he lectured with his usual success 
on theology. 

In 1267, he published at Bologna a work on the duties 
of kings, but his task was interrupted in the same year by 
the death of his royal pupil, Hugo II., king of Cyprus. 

Jean de Verceil had just sent to Thomas a famous tract 
in which the efficaciousness of the sacrament of penance 
was denied. He refuted it in a treatise called " De forma 
Absolutions," with so much force and clearness that the 
Council of Trent adopted his very words in framing their 

About this time he was one day walking in the cloister of 
the convent at Bologna, plunged in deep meditation, when a 
lay brother, who did not know him, came up to him and 
said that he was obliged to go out on some matters of 
business, and that the superior had given him leave to take 



* _ ^ 

March 7 .j S. Tlwmas Aquinas. 149 

with him the first religious he met S. Thomas, without 
excusing himself on the score of lameness from which he 
was then suffering, or of more serious engagements, went 
cheerfully with the lay brother; but the latter walked so 
fast, that Thomas was often left behind. But he was soon 
recognised, and the escort of citizens who respectfully 
followed the saint, opened the eyes of the lay brother. 
When they returned to the convent, the lay brother threw 
himself at the feet of Thomas and begged his pardon. 
Thomas raised him from the ground, saying, " It is not your 
duty, but mine to make an apology; for I ought to have 
remembered that my sore leg would not let me walk as fast 
as you wanted." 

In 1269, Thomas was summoned to Paris, as "definitor" 
of the Roman province, to attend the general chapter of his 
order. S. Thomas prolonged his last sojourn in Paris for a 
year after the departure of S. Louis on his ill-fated crusade, in 
1270, and during the whole time he continued to lecture, 
and to write his Summa. 

S. Thomas was recalled to Bologna by his superiors early 
in 1 27 1. Shortly after his return thither, he brought the 
second part of his Summa to a conclusion. 

At the beginning of the year 1272, the chapter general of 
the order received requests from nearly all the universities 
of Europe that S. Thomas might lecture in them. The 
decision was in favour of Naples, for which he started at 
once. He visited Rome on his way, and there he began 
the last part of the Summa, and wrote his commentaries on 
several books of Boetius. Whilst he was explaining that 
book which treats of the Trinity, the candle which he held to 
light him, burnt down between his fingers, and scorched them 
severely, before his attention was aroused from his work. 

After leaving Rome, Thomas and his inseparable friend 
Rainald were entertained at the villa of Cardinal Richard, 


150 Lives of the Saints. [March 7. 

where the two Rabbis were converted. Here Thomas 
fell ill, but the attack was slight, and quickly passed away. 

In spite of all the precautions of Christian humility, his 
entry into Naples was a triumph. All classes, the lettered 
and the unlettered, the great and the small, hurried to 
welcome him. An excited yet respectful crowd accompanied 
him as far as the gates of that Dominican convent, where he 
had embraced religion. What would Theodora have said 
if she had seen her son entering in triumph that same house 
which she had regarded as the tomb of his glory ? 

The king, Charles I., assigned him a monthly pension, 
rather as a token of his royal favour, than as a reward for his 
services. The pilgrim who visits the Dominican convent 
at Naples, sees at the entrance of the great hall a represen- 
tation of S. Thomas, and beneath it an inscription, " Before 
thou enterest, venerate this image and this chair, from which 
Thomas Aquinas uttered his oracles to a large number of 
disciples for the glory and felicity of his age." 

The cardinal-legate of the holy see, wished to have an 
interview with our saint, and invited the archbishop of 
Capua, an old pupil of S. Thomas, to accompany him. 
The saint on being told of their arrival, went down into the 
cloister, but happening to be absorbed in thought, he forgot 
the object for which he had been summoned, and gravely 
continued his walk without taking any notice of them. The 
cardinal was offended, but the archbishop explained the 
cause of the saint's apparent rudeness. When Thomas woke 
from his reverie, he apologised, laying the blame on his 
feebleness of mind, which had not allowed him to find the 
solution of a theological difficulty without trouble and 
delay. The cardinal-legate withdrew, not knowing which 
to admire most, the learning, or the humility, of the doctor. 

During the short space of a year and a half S. Thomas 
composed the 549 articles, which are all that we have of 

* * 

# * 

March >.] S. Thomas Aquinas. 151 

the last part of his Summa. Some commentaries on divers 
passages of Holy Wit came from his pen at the same time. 
The fleeting elements of this world faded gradually from his 
thoughts ; his eye was fixed on other horizons. 

The transports which he had always experienced in 
prayer, became daily more frequent. 

Yielding to the entreaties of his friends, to the vow of 
obedience which he had taken, contrary to the inclination 
to which his natural humility led him, he revealed some of 
the supernatural favours which Heaven had vouchsafed to 

Whilst praying in the church at Naples one day, we are 
told that Romanus, whom he had left in Paris as master of 
theology, stood before him. S. Thomas approached his friend 
and said, "Welcome here, when didst thou come?" "I 
have passed from this life," replied the figure, " and am per- 
mitted to appear on thine account." The Angelical 
exclaimed, " I adjure thee then to answer me these ques- 
tions. How do I stand ? Are my works pleasing to God ?" 
" Thou art in a good state, and thy works do please God," 
was the reply. " Then what about thyself?" enquired the 
Angelical. " I am now in Eternal Bliss, but I have been in 
Purgatory ?" " Tell me," continued Thomas, " whether the 
habits which are acquired in this life remain to us in 
heaven ?" " Brother Thomas," was the reply, " I see God, 
and do not ask for more." "How dost thou see God," 
rejoined the saint, " dost thou see Him immediately, or by 
means of some similitude ?" The other answered, " Like as 
we have heard, so have we seen in the city of the Lord of 
Hosts," Ps. xlvii. 9, (xlviii. 8,) and then instantly vanished. 

While Thomas was writing his articles on the fourth 
Sacrament, he was praying one day in a chapel dedicated to 
S. Nicolas, when, as the story goes, the figure on the crucifix 
turned towards him and said, " Thomas, Thou hast written 

* # 

*_^-^ , , 

152 Lives of the Saints. [March?. 

well of Me ; what reward desirest thou ?" " Nought, save 
Thyself, Lord," was the saint's spontaneous reply. 

At length he became so absorbed in Divine things, that 
even the " Summa " itself failed to interest him. He ceased 
to write, after a marvellous rapture which seized him 
whilst celebrating mass in the chapel of S. Nicolas. After 
this mass, he did not sit down to his desk, nor would he 
consent to dictate anything. When Rainald urged him to 
finish the "Summa," he replied, "I cannot, for everything 
that I have written appears to me worthless compared with 
what I have seen, and what has been revealed to me." 

Gregory X. wishing to carry out the union of the Greek 
and Latin churches, summoned S. Thomas, by special bull, 
to the Second Council of Lyons, and requested him to bring 
his famous treatise with him. 

Our saint set out with Rainald for Lyons, towards the 
end of January, 1274. His health was feeble, and his mind 
was still fixed on the visions of another world. They 
travelled by way of the Campagna, and called at the castle 
of Maienza, in the diocese of Terracina, where Frances, wife 
of Hannibal Ceccano, niece of the Angelic Doctor, resided. 
Here the saint became much weaker, and did not rally. He 
wholly lost his appetite. After a while he felt himself a little 
stronger. The rumour of his proximity reached the Bene- 
dictine Abbey of Fossa Nuova, six miles from the castle. 
The monks came to invite him thither, and he gladly 
accepted the invitation, saying, " If the Lord means to take 
me away, it were better that I should die in a religious 
house, than in the midst of seculars." 

He rode in their midst to the abbey ; the monks helped 
him to dismount, and sustained him to the Church, where 
he knelt in silent adoration. Then rising, the abbot con- 
ducted him through the church into the cloister. Then the 
whole past seemed to break in upon him like a burst of 

* 4, 

* * 

March,.] .S". Thomas Aquinas. 153 

overpowering sunlight ; the calm abbey, the meditative 
corridor, the gentle Benedictine monks, recalled to him 
Monte Cassino, as in his boyish days. Completely 
overcome by the memories of the past, he turned to the 
monks accompanying him, and exclaimed, " This is the 
place where I shall find repose " and to Rainald he said, 
"This shall be my rest for ever and ever : here will I dwell, 
for I have a delight therein." (Ps. cxxxi. 14, a. v., cxxxii. 15.) 

His fever increasing, he was conducted to the abbot's cell, 
which out of respect had been prepared for him. Here, 
during the whole of his illness, which lasted about a month, 
the community watched over him with the tenderness and 
reverence of sons towards a father. They excluded all 
servants from waiting on him ; even the wood to make his 
fire was cut down in the forest by the hands of the 
brethren, and borne on their willing shoulders to his 
hearth. They were overjoyed to receive him into their 
home, and to minister to him of their choicest and best. 
He, patient as a child, knew that he was amongst his 
own, and yearned continually for his release, repeating con- 
tinually the words of S. Augustine : " So long as in me 
there is ought which is not wholly Thine, O God, suffer- 
ing and sorrow will be my lot. But when I shall be Thine 
alone, then shall I be filled with Thee, and wholly set at 

Knowing how illumined this man of God was, concerning 
the union of the soul with its Beloved, the monks, notwith- 
standing his feeble condition, could not refrain from asking 
him to expound to them the Canticle of canticles. Ever 
since his great vision, the saint had put aside his pen. Still 
the monks implored him, reminding how blessed Bernard 
had done the like. The Angelical Doctor looked at them 
with unutterable gentleness, and said, "Get me Bernard's 
spirit, and I will do your bidding." Finally he yielded to 

* * 




Lives of the Saints. 

[March 7. 

them, and surrounding the bed on which he lay, they heard 
from the lips of the dying theologian, his last lecture and 

Growing still weaker, S. Thomas foresaw that his hour 
was drawing nigh. He sent for Rainald, and with deep 
contrition and many sighs made a general confession. 
Having done this, he begged the brethren to bring him the 
Body of our Lord that Lord, who from his infancy, had 
been the mainstay of his life, and the one desire of his 
heart. The abbot, accompanied by his community, came 
solemnly bearing the Blessed Sacrament. Immediately the 
great Angelical perceived his Master's presence, with the 
help of the brethren, he rose from the pallet, and kneeling 
upon the floor, adored his King and Saviour; and amidst 
the sobs of the monks, he made his act of faith in the Real 
Presence of his Lord. When he had made an end, and the 
abbot was on the point of administering the Saving Host to 
him, he exclaimed, in the hearing of all the monks : " I 
receive Thee, the price of my soul's redemption, for love of 
Whom I have studied, watched, and laboured. Thee have 
I preached, Thee have I taught, against Thee never have 
I breathed a word, neither am I wedded to my own 
opinion. If I have held ought which is untrue regarding 
this blessed Sacrament, I subject it to the judgment of the 
Holy Roman Church, in whose obedience I now pass out 
of life." Then, as the abbot lifted up the spotless Host 
to administer to him, with a torrent of tears he uttered his 
favourite ejaculation : " Thou, O Christ, art the King of 
Glory : Thou art the everlasting Son of the Father !" and 
received upon his tongue the Bread of Heaven. As the 
end was approaching, the abbot with the brethren watched 
about his bed ; and those senses, which had served their 
Master with such generous loyalty, were one by one 
anointed with sacred unction by loving Benedictine hands 




March o .S. T/wmas Aquinas. 155 

at his request, whilst he, quite conscious of what was going 
on, answered "Amen" to the prayers of the minister of 

The brethren, with untold tenderness and reverence, 
followed his countenance with their eyes, and watched life 
gradually ebbing away. 

He was taken from exile in the early morning of the 7th 
of March, 1274, in the prime of manhood, being scarcely 
forty-eight years of age. 

The religious of Fossa Nuova committed all that was 
mortal of S. Thomas to its resting place with the honour 
due to the remains of such a saint, and such a genius. The 
whole country side followed him mourning. The superior 
of the convent, a blind old man, was led to the side of the 
corpse to pay it a last tribute of respect. Seized with a 
sudden impulse of faith, he placed his sightless eyes to 
those of our saint, and the blind eyes of the dead restored 
the vision of the living monk. Rainald with tears, and 
choked with emotion, pronounced a funeral elegy over his 
master and friend, before he was laid at rest in the convent 
church. Many other miracles were wrought by his body. 

On Sunday, Jan. 28th, 1369, his relics were deposited 
with great pomp at Toulouse, where they still repose in the 
Church of S. Sernan. The king, Charles V., wished his arm 
to be brought to Paris, and he received it on his knees 
in the chapel royal, which he had built for it at S. 
James's convent. This relic was at the French Revolution 
taken to Italy. 



156 Lives of the Saints. [March 8. 

March 8. 

S. Pontius, D. at Carthage, circ. a.d. 262. 

SS. Philemon and Apollonius, MM. at Antinoe, in Egypt, a.d. 305. 

SS. Cyril, B.M., Rogatus, Felix, and Others, MM. in Africa. 

S. Quintillus, B.M. at Nicomedia. 

S. Senan, of Iniscatthy, B. Ab. in Ireland, circ. A.D. $46. , 

S. Felix, B. among the East Saxons, a.d. 654. 

S. Julian, B. of Toledo, a.d. 690. 

S. Theophylact, B.C. at Nicomedia, a.d. 845, 

S. Humphrey, B. of Therouane, a.d. 871. 

S. DUTHAC, B. Of ROSS, A.D. I2$0. 

S. John of God, C. at Granada, a.d. i5$o. 


(A.D. 305.) 

[By the Greeks on December 14th. By the Latins on March 8th. Arian 
and Theotychus, who are included in the Roman Martyrology, are not men- 
tioned in any ancient Martyrologies except that of Usuardus. Authority: 
Tru Acts, which as they now ex:st, are very corrupt. The original Acts 
have apparently been made a foundation to which a later Greek writer has 
added a superstructure of fable. The conversion and the martyrdom of 
the governor Arian has all the appearance of being an addition by a later 
hand, to complete the story, for the fabulous Greek Acts generally wind up 
with the conversion or destruction of the judge. This seems to have been 
regarded as the proper conclusion of every martyrdom. J 

[RIANUS the judge, who had condemned S. 

Asclas (Jan. 23rd) to a cruel death, at Antinoe 

in Upper Egypt, did not leave the place till 

many other Christians had suffered by his orders. 

Now there was at Antinoe a deacon named Apollonius, 

who feared torture, being by nature of a highly sensitive and 

timorous constitution, and when the governor had given 

orders that every inhabitant should appear before him and 

sacrifice, he went to Philemon, a stage piper and dancer, 

and offered him money if he would go and sacrifice in his 




March s.] ^SVS*. Philemon & Apollomus. 157 

name, and bring him a ticket to the effect that Apollonius 
had sacrificed. Christians who thus acted were called 
libellatics ; and on the return of tranquillity were put to 
penance, but were not regarded in the same light as apos- 
tates. Philemon asked Apollonius for one of his hooded 
cloaks, which would conceal his face, and then went before 
the judge. 

Then Arian said, " Well, fellow, what art thou ? A Chris- 
tian perhaps, muffled thus, as if thou fearedst to be seen." 

Philemon, filled with the grace of God, answered gravely, 
" Yes, my lord, I am a Christian." 

" Thou knowest the choice that is set before thee, torture 
or sacrifice," said the magistrate. 

" I will not sacrifice," answered the piper, " I saw how, 
by the power of God, Asclas held thee stationary in the 
midst of the river." 

Then Arian, leaning back in his seat, said to his officers, 
"Send for Philemon the piper ; perchance his sweet melodies 
will drive away the fancies of this fool, and allure him to the 
worship of our gods." But Philemon was not to be found ; 
then his brother Theonas was brought in, and Arian asked 
him where was the piper Philemon. Theonas, looking intently 
at the prisoner, said, " That is he." Then the hood was 
plucked off the face of Philemon, and the cloak drawn from 
his shoulders, and it was the merry piper shod with his gay 
buskins, and with the tuneful reeds in his hands. Arian 
laughed heartily, and exclaimed that this was a rare joke. 
" We make no account of all this, man !" said he, " for to this 
thou wast born, and to this bred, that thou shouldst shake 
our sides with laughter. Now sacrifice, and end the farce." 

But Philemon steadfastly refused, and Arian saw that no 
jest was meant, but that this was sober earnest. So putting 
on an angry look, he said, " It is foolery for thee to pass 
thyself off as a Christian, piper 1 for thou art not baptized." 


158 Lives of the Saints. [March 8. 

Then the poor man was filled with tribulation, and in his 
doubt and grief he cried to the Lord Jesus Christ to accept 
and baptize him. And as he prayed, there came down a 
soft sparkling spring shower, and the piper, stretching his 
hands to heaven, cried joyously, "He has heard me, and 
has baptized me in the cloud 1" x And he took his pipes 
and broke them up, and cast them away. Now the officer 
had taken the deacon Apollonius, and they brought him 
before Arian, who reproached him for his cowardice; the 
deacon in shame admitted that he had done wrong. " But 
now," said he, in a firm voice, " know that I will not 
sacrifice." Then the judge ordered him and Philemon 
to be executed with the sword. 

So far the Acts seem to be trustworthy, but what 
follows is fabulous ; some of these incidents shall 
however be given. Philemon before his execution, 
bade the officers bring a brass pot, and put a baby in 
it, cover it, and take aim at it with their arrows. The pot 
was soon transfixed ; but when it was opened, the child 
within was found unhurt. Then Philemon said, " Like that 
vessel is a Christian's body, riddled with wounds, but the 
soul within, like that infant, is unharmed." And when the 
governor ordered a flight of arrows to be discharged at him, 
he raised his hand, and the arrows remained stationary in 
the air, but one returning put out the eye of Arian. Then 
Philemon said, " When I am dead, go to my grave, and 
make clay of the dust there, and anoint thine eye, and 
it will be restored whole." 

This Arian does and is healed, and in consequence 
converted. Then Dioclesian, hearing of his conversion, 
sends four officers to judge him, and these in turn are 

1 There are several versions of this event. According to one, the judge and assist- 
ants were blinded whilst Philemon was carried to the river and baptized by a 
priest. But his prayer afterwards, " Thou hast baptized me in the cloud," proves 
this to have been an interpolation. 

* & 


March 8.] S. Se7ian of Iniscatthy. 159 

converted, and finally Arian and the four officers are sewn 
up in sacks and flung into the sea. All this may safely be 
rejected as fabulous. 


(ABOUT A.D. 546.) 

[Irish Martyrologies. He died on March ist, but was buried on the 8th, 
on which day his festival is kept. His name occurs in the Festology of 
S. ^Engus. Authorities : A life written by S. Colman, versified by a later 
hand, and full of fables, also an Irish life written in the 12th cent.] 

Senan was a native of Corco-baskin, a district in the 
western part of Thomond. 1 His parents were Christians 
and noble. Ercan, his father, is said to have been of the 
royal blood of Conary I., king of Ireland. Coemgalla, his 
mother, was likewise of an illustrious Munster family. An 
odd legend of his childhood is told. His parents were 
moving house, and Senan remained immersed in prayer, 
lending no hand to the work. Then his mother, provoked, 
threw some water over him to wake him up, and scolded 
him soundly. Senan resumed his devotions, and instantly 
the pots and pans of the domestic establishment came flying 
through the air from the kitchen of the old house into the 
kitchen of the new one. 

When arrived at a certain age, he was forced by the 
prince of Corco-baskin to join in an expedition undertaken 
against the territory of Corcomroe, for the purpose of 
carrying off plunder. This did not suit the disposition of 
young Senan, and accordingly he contrived to avoid taking 
any share in the devastation of the country. He was re- 
warded for this, for, when the party to which he belonged 
was routed with great loss, and he had fallen into the hands 

1 In the county Clare. 




Lives of the Saints. 

[March 8. 

of their opponents, he was allowed to depart without injury, 
and go whithersoever he pleased. He therefore placed 
himself under the abbot Cassidan, and having received from 
him the monastic habit, became a proficient in piety and 
learning. Next he repaired to the monastery of S. Natalis, or 
Naal, with whom he spent some years. Several legends are 
connected with this period. He had to keep cows, and one 
day seeing the calves sucking them, and dreading lest there 
should be a deficiency of milk for the brethren, he put his 
stick between them, and neither could approach the other. 
Another story is to the effect that he read at night using the 
fingers of his left hand as candles, a story told also of S. 
Columba, S. Kentigern, and other Irish and Scottish saints. 
A monk observed him ; then Senan said, " For peeping and 
prying, a stork shall peck out your eye." And as the monk 
left the place, a stork rushed at him, and had one of his eye 
balls out in a trice. But when S. Natalis heard of this, he 
ordered Senan to replace the eye, and cure it instantly, and 
this he did. After Senan had left the monastery of S. Naal, 
he is said to have gone into foreign parts, to have visited 
Rome and Tours, and on his return to have tarried with 
S. David of Menevia, with whom he continued very intimate 
until his death. Senan's first establishment was at Inis-Carra, 
near the river Lee, about five miles from Cork, in the barony 
of Barrets. While he was in that place, a vessel arrived 
in Cork harbour, bringing fifty religious persons, passengers 
from the continent, who came to Ireland for the purpose of 
improving themselves in monastic studies. Senan retained 
ten of them with himself, the others were distributed in 
various establishments. He was not long at Inis-Carra, 
before Lugadh, prince of that country, insisted on his sub- 
mitting to certain exactions, which Senan refused to comply 
with. The dispute was soon settled through the interference 
of two young noblemen, who were then at the court of 



March 8. S. Senan of Iniscatthy. 161 

Lugadh. Not long after, Senan, having left eight of his 
disciples at Inis-Carra, went to Inis-luinge, an island in the 
Shannon, where, having erected a church, he gave the veil 
to the daughter of Brendan, the prince of that country. 
Thence, setting out by water to Inis-mor, he was driven by 
adverse winds to an island called Inis-tuaiscert. Thinking 
that it was a special providence which had brought him 
there, he erected a church, and left it to the care of some 
of his disciples. He then made his way to Inis-mor, 1 and 
there founded a monastery, which he governed for some 
time. We afterwards find him settled in the island of Inis- 
cathaig, now Iniscatthy, at the mouth of the Shannon, where 
he erected a monastery in spite of the opposition of Mactael, 
the prince of the country. One of his rules was that no 
females should be admitted into the island. This regulation 
was observed even with regard to the most saintly virgins. 
S. Kannera, a nun of Bantry, wished to receive the Holy 
Viaticum from the hands of Senan, and to be buried at 
Iniscatthy. Accordingly she set out for the island, but, just 
as she drew near, Senan met her, 2 and obstinately refused 
to allow her to land, and requested her to go to the 
house of his mother, who lived not far distant, and was re- 
lated to Kannera. The conversation given in the metrical 
life between the abbot and the dying nun, is very quaint 
The abbot said, "What have monks in common with 
women ? We will not let you step on to our island." She 
said, " But if Christ will receive my spirit, why should you 
reject my body ?" " That," answered the venerable Senan, 
" is true ; but for all that I will not suffer you to come here, 
go back, and do not be a plague to us. You may be pure 

' Inchmore, or Deer Island, in the river Fergus, where this river joins the 

According to the legend, an angel brought her to Iniscatthy, and S. Senan ran 
out over the water, stick in hand, to arrest her. 



1 62 Lives of the Saints. [March 8. 

enough in soul, but you are a woman, nevertheless." " I 
will die, before I go back I" said S. Kannera. Like many 
another woman, she gained her point, and, dying on the 
shore, was there buried. 

Senan was a bishop when he founded his monastery of 
Iniscatthy, but when, or by whom he was consecrated, we 
are not informed. It is related that, perceiving the time of his 
departure draw nigh, he determined to go to the monastery 
of S. Cassidus, and to the nunnery of S. Scotia, his paternal 
aunt, that he might apply himself more fervently to prayer 
in these retreats, and prepare himself for his wished-for de- 
parture. On his way thither he turned off a little towards 
the church of Kill-eochaille, for the purpose of visiting cer- 
tain holy virgins, the daughters of one Naereus, who had 
received the veil from him. Having performed his devotions 
in the church of S. Cassidus, he was returning to Iniscatthy, 
when, in a field near the church of Kill-eochaille, he heard 
a voice announcing to him that he was to be removed to 
heaven without delay. Accordingly, he died on that very 
day, and his body remained at Kill-eochaille until the next, 
when several of the principal members of his monastery 
arrived, and had it brought to Iniscatthy. Notice of his 
death was then sent to the prelates, clergy, and principal 
persons of the neighbouring churches, and his obsequies 
were celebrated on the octave. A foolish story, incorporated 
in some of the martyrologies, relates that on the day of his 
burial, as he was being carried to the grave, he sat up and 
informed the assistants that his anniversary was to be cele- 
brated on the 8th March, instead of the ist. The year of 
his death is unknown ; but there can be no doubt that it 
was later than 544, the date assigned to it by some writers. 
The reputation of S. Senan has not been confined to Ireland, 
and his Acts have been published among those of the saints 
of Brittany, by Albert le Grand, as one of the chief patrons 


March 8.] ,S. Felix. 1 63 

of the diocese of S. Pol de Leon ; but the S. Sand there 
venerated seems not to be the same, but some local saint of 
whom nothing is known. 


(a.d. 654.) 

[Roman and Gallican Martyrologies. Salisbury Breviary, and more 
modern Anglican Martyrologies. Also Molanus and Greven, in their addi- 
tion to Usuardus. Authorities : Bede and Malmesbury.] 

S. Felix was a native of Burgundy, where he made the 
acquaintance of Sigebert, prince of the East Angles, who 
had been banished by Redwald. This prince was instructed 
in the Christian faith, and was baptized by Felix, at that time 
a priest. Some time after this, upon the death of his half- 
brother, king Espenwald, the son of Redwald, who had been 
killed at the instigation of the cruel Penda, king of Mercia, 
Sigebert was called to England to succeed to the kingdom, 
and he made it his care to introduce Christianity among the 
East Angles, who occupied Norfolk, Suffolk, and Cambridge- 
shire. For this purpose he invited S. Felix to his court, and 
he, without demur, quitted country, friends, and home, to 
preach the faith to an uncivilized pagan people. But first 
he visited Honorius, archbishop of Canterbury, and from 
him he received his mission to the East Angles, and, as 
some say, his episcopal consecration. King Sigebert ap- 
pointed Dunwich, on the Suffolk coast, as the headquarters 
of his mission. Felix went about, preaching, founding 
churches and schools, and, through his exertions, the Chris- 
tian faith took deep root in the land. Some attribute to 
him the foundation of the first school at Cambridge. 

S. Felix lived till after the year 650, and having discharged 
the duty of a most zealous pastor of souls for the space of 


164 Lives of the Saints. [March s. 

seventeen years, he departed to the Lord, and was buried 
in his church of Dunwich, from which place his body was 
afterwards translated to Soham, near Ely, and thence to the 
abbey of Ramsey. 


(ABOUT A.D. 1250.) 

[Aberdeen Breviary. Authorities : Leslie, Dempster, and the lections 
in the Aberdeen Breviary.] 

S. Duthac was a member of an illustrious Scottish 
family. Several legends are told of his life in the Aberdeen 
Breviary, and little else is known of his acts. For instance, 
when a child, he was sent by his mother to bring fire from a 
forge, as all the fires in the house were extinguished. The 
blacksmith, in brutal jest, put some red-hot charcoal in the 
lap of the child, and Duthac brought the glowing embers 
thus to his mother. He was afterwards in Ireland, where 
he studied, and on his return was appointed to the bishopric 
of Ross. One day he was dining with a noble, and a guest 
becoming very drunk, gave his gold ring and a slice of 
meat to one of Duthac's disciples, ordering him to take 
them to his home. The disciple was on his way, when 
passing through a churchyard, he laid down the meat and 
the ring, whilst he said a prayer for the repose of the 
souls of those who lay there. At that moment a kite 
swooped down and carried off ring and meat. The young 
man ran to S. Duthac in dismay, and the bishop summoned 
the kite, which obeyed, and bringing the meat and the ring, 
deposited them at his feet Duthac took the ring and gave 
it to the young man, but allowed the kite to consume the 
meat. On the feast of S. Finbar, a canon at Dornock slew 
a fat ox, roasted it, and distributed slices amongst the poor. 
" Surely some one will take Duthac his share of the beef," 


March 8.] .S". J ohtl of God. I 65 

said the canon. Then a man offered himself, and lo ! as he 
travelled by night with the meat for the bishop, a light like 
that of a lamp shone on his way, guiding him ; and thus 
the bishop received his share before it had lost its freshness. 


(a.d. 1550.) 

[Roman Martyrology. Authority : His Life, written twenty-five years 
after his death.] 

S. John, surnamed of God, was born in Portugal, in 
1495. His parents were of the lowest rank, but good and 
pious people. John spent a considerable part of his youth 
in service, under the chief shepherd of the count of Oro- 
peusa, in Castile, and in great innocence and virtue. In 
1522, he enlisted himself in a company of foot soldiers, 
raised by the count, and served in the wars between the 
French and Spaniards ; and afterwards in Hungary, against 
the Turks, whilst the emperor Charles V. was king of Spain. 
By the licentiousness of his companions, he by degrees lost 
his fear of offending God, grew careless, and fell into many 
grievous sins. The troop to which he belonged having been 
disbanded, he went into Andalusia in 1536, where he entered 
the service of a rich lady near Seville, as a shepherd. He 
was now about forty years of age, and being stung with 
remorse for his past misconduct, he resolved to amend his 
life and do penance for his sins. He accordingly employed 
the greatest part of his time, both by day and night, in the 
exercises of prayer and mortification ; bewailing his in- 
gratitude towards God, and deliberating how he could best 
dedicate himself to His service. His compassion for the 
distressed moved him to pass into Africa, that he might 
there comfort and succour the slaves, not without hopes of 



1 66 Lives of the Saints. [March*. 

meeting with the crown of martyrdom. At Gibraltar he 
met a Portuguese gentleman condemned to banishment, 
whose estate had been confiscated by king John III. He 
was then in the hands of the king's officers, together with 
his wife and children, and was on his way to Ceuta in Bar- 
bary, the place of his exile. John, out of compassion, 
served him without wages. At Ceuta the gentleman fell 
sick, and was reduced to dispose of the small remains of 
his shattered fortune for the support of his wife and children, 
who were with him in exile. John, not content to sell what 
little stock he had to relieve them, hired himself as a day 
labourer at the public works to earn all he could for their 
subsistence. The apostasy of one of his companions 
alarmed him, and his confessor telling him that his going in 
quest of martyrdom was an illusion, he determined to return 
to Spain. Coming back to Gibraltar, his piety suggested to 
him to turn pedler, and sell little sacred pictures and books 
of devotion, which might furnish him with opportunities of 
exhorting his customers to virtue. His stock increasing 
considerably, he settled in Granada, where he opened a 
shop in 1538, being then forty-three years of age. 

The great preacher and servant of God, John D'Avila, 
surnamed the Apostle of Andalusia, preached that year at 
Granada, on S. Sebastian's day, which is there kept as a 
great festival. John having heard his sermon, was so 
affected with it, that, melting into tears, he filled the whole 
church with his cries, beating his breast, and calling aloud 
for mercy. Then, frenzied with compunction, he ran about 
the streets, tearing his hair, and behaving in such a manner 
that he was followed by the rabble with sticks and stones, 
and came home besmeared with dirt and blood. He then 
gave away all that he had in the world, and having thus 
reduced himself to absolute poverty, continued his frantic 
racing about the streets as before, till some had the charity 

* * 


March s.] .S*. John of God. 167 

to take him to the venerable John D'Avila, covered with 
dirt and blood. The holy man spoke to him in private, 
heard his general confession, gave him proper advice, 
and promised his assistance. John returned soon after to 
his extravagances. He was, thereupon, taken up and put 
into a madhouse, on supposition of his being disordered in 
his senses, where, according to the barbarous practice of 
the time, the severest methods were employed to bring him 
to himself. He underwent all the pains inflicted on him as 
an atonement for the sins of his past life. D'Avila being 
informed of his conduct, came to visit him, and found him 
reduced almost to the grave by weakness ; and his body 
covered with wounds and sores ; but his soul was still vigor- 
ous, and thirsting after new sufferings and humiliations. 
D'Avila, however, told him that being sufficiently exercised 
in so singular a method of penance and humiliation, he had 
better employ himself for the time to come in something 
more conducive to his own and the public good. His ex- 
hortation had its desired effect ; and John became at once 
calm, to the great astonishment of his keepers. He con- 
tinued, however, some time longer in the hospital serving 
the sick, but left it entirely on S. Ursula's day, in 1539. 
He then thought of executing his design of doing some- 
thing for the relief of the poor ; and, after a pilgrimage to 
Our Lady of Guadalupe, to recommend himself and his 
undertaking to her intercession, he began to sell wood in the 
market-place, and expend the proceeds in feeding the poor, 
Soon after he hired a house in which to shelter poor sick 
persons, whom he served and provided for with such ardour, 
prudence, and economy, that it surprised the whole city. 
This was the foundation of the Order of Charity, in 1540, 
which, by the benediction of heaven, has since been spread 
all over Christendom. John was occupied all day in serving 
his patients ; in the night he went out to find new objects of 


r 68 Lives of the Saints. [March s. 

charity, rather than to seek provisions for them ; for people of 
their own accord brought him in all necessaries for his little 
hospital. The archbishop of Granada, highly pleased with 
the discipline and order maintained in the establishment, 
gave largely towards its support, and his example was followed 
by others. Indeed, the charity, patience, and modesty of 
S. John, and his wonderful care and foresight, made every 
one admire and favour the institution. The bishop of 
Tuy, president of the royal court of judicature in Granada, 
having invited the holy man to dinner, put several questions 
to him, to all of which he answered in such a manner, as 
gave the bishop the highest opinion of his prudence and 
good sense. It was this prelate who gave him the name 
of John of God, and prescribed him a kind of habit, though 
S. John never thought of founding a religious order ; for the 
rules which bear his name were drawn up only in 1556, six 
years after his death ; and religious vows were not intro- 
duced among his brethren before the year 1570. 

To make trial of the saint's disinterestedness, the marquis 
of Tarifa came to him in disguise to beg an alms, on pre- 
tence of a necessary law-suit, and received from his hands 
twenty-five ducats, which was all he had. The marquis was 
so much edified by his charity, that, besides returning the 
sum, he bestowed on him one hundred and fifty crowns of 
gold, and sent to his hospital every day, during his stay at 
Granada, one hundred and fifty loaves, four sheep, and six 
pullets. But the holy man gave a still more illustrious proof 
of his charity when the hospital was on fire ; for he carried 
out most of the sick on his own back ; and though he passed 
and repassed through the flames, and staid in the midst of 
them a considerable time, he received no hurt. But his 
charity was not confined to his own hospital ; he looked 
upon it as his own misfortune if the necessities of any dis- 
tressed person in the country remained unrelieved. He, 

if, 4, 

S. JOHN OF GOD. After Cahier. 

March, p. 168.] 

[March 8. 


March 8.] 

S. John of God. 



therefore, made strict inquiry into the wants of the poor 
over the whole province, relieved many in their own houses, 
found employment for those that were able to work, and 
with wonderful sagacity laid himself out in every way to 
comfort and assist the afflicted members of Christ. He was 
particularly active and vigilant in providing for young 
maidens in distress, to prevent the dangers to which they 
are often exposed. He also reclaimed many who were 
already leading a course of sin, seeking them out, crucifix 
in hand, and with many tears exhorting them to repentance. 
Though his life seemed to be taken up in continual action, 
he accompanied it with perpetual prayer and incredible 
corporal austerities. And his tears of devotion, his frequent 
raptures, and his eminent spirit of contemplation, gave a 
lustre to his other virtues. But his sincere humility ap- 
peared most admirable in all his actions, even amidst the 
honours which he received at the court of Valladolid, 
whither business called him. The king and princes seemed 
to vie with each other who should show him the greatest 
courtesy, or put the largest alms in his hands. Only the 
most tried virtue could stand the test of honours, but John 
remained the same retiring, modest man he was before, pre- 
ferring humiliation to honour. One day, when a woman 
called him a hypocrite, and loaded him with invectives, he 
gave her a piece of money, and desired her to repeat all 
she had said in the market-place. 

Worn out at last by ten years' hard service in his hospital, 
he fell sick. The immediate occasion was excess of fatigue 
in saving wood and other such things for the poor, in a 
great flood. He at first concealed his sickness, that he 
might not be obliged to diminish his labours, but in the 
meantime he carefully went over the inventories of all 
things belonging to his hospital, and inspected all the 
accounts. He also revised the rules he had made for its 



170 Lives of the Saints. [March s. 

administration, the distribution of time, and the exercises of 
piety to be observed in it. Upon a complaint that he har- 
boured idle strollers and bad women, the archbishop sent 
for him. The man of God threw himself at his feet, and 
said, " The Son of God came for sinners, and we are obliged 
to seek their conversion. I am unfaithful to my vocation 
because I neglect this ; and I confess that I know no other 
bad person in my hospital but myself." This he spoke with 
go much humility that all present were moved, and the arch- 
bishop dismissed him with respect, leaving all things to his 
discretion. His illness increasing, the news of it spread. The 
lady Anne Ossorio was no sooner informed of his condition, 
than she came in her carriage to the hospital to see him. 
The servant of God lay in his habit in his little cell, covered 
with a piece of an old coat instead of a blanket, and having 
under his head the basket in which he was wont to collect 
alms for his hospital. The poor and sick stood weeping 
round him. The lady, moved with compassion, despatched 
secretly a message to the archbishop, who sent immediately 
an order to S. John to obey her as he would himself, during 
his illness. By virtue of this authority she obliged him to 
leave his hospital. In going out, he visited the Blessed 
Sacrament, and poured forth his heart before It with fervour ; 
remaining there absorbed in his devotions so long, that the 
lady Anne Ossorio caused him to be taken up and carried 
into her carriage, in which she conveyed him to her own 
house. She herself prepared, with the help of her maids, 
and gave him with her own hands, broth and medicine, and 
often read to him the history of the passion of our Divine 
E.edeemer. The whole city was in tears ; all the nobility 
visited him ; and the magistrates came to beg he would give 
his benediction to the city. He answered, that his sins 
rendered him the scandal and reproach of their country, 
but recommended to them his brethren the poor, and his 


March 8.] S. J ' okfl of God. Ijl 

religious that served them. At last, by order of the arch- 
bishop, he gave the city his dying blessing. The archbishop 
said Mass in his chamber, heard his confession, gave him 
the viaticum and extreme unction, and promised to pay all 
his debts and to provide for all his poor. 

The saint expired on his knees, before the altar, on the 
8th of March, in 15 50, at the age of fifty-five. He was 
buried by the archbishop, and all the clergy, both secular 
and regular, accompanied by the court, the nobles, and the 
whole city, with the utmost pomp. He was honoured by 
many miracles, beatified by Urban VIII., in 1630, and 
canonized by Alexander VIII., in 1690. His relics were 
translated into the church of his brethren in 1664. His 
Order of Charity to serve the sick was approved of by pope 
Pius V. 

Jeeue Chriit in the Character of a Pilgrim accepting the Hospitality of two Dominicans 
From a Fn-oco hy Fra Ang^licc at Florence. 


l n 2 Lives of the Saints. [March,. 

March 9. 

S. Pacian, B. of Barcelona, in Spain, before a.d. 39c. 

S. Gregory Nyssen, B.C. in Cappadocia, circ. a.d. .390. 

S. Bosa, B. in Northumbria, a.d. 705. 

SS. Cyril and Methodius, App.of the Sda-ves, gthcent. 

S. Vitalis of Sicily, Ab., a.d. 994. 

S. Catharine of Boloona, V. in Italy, a.d. 1463. 

S. Frances of Rome, If., a.d. 1440. 


(BEFORE A.D. 390.) 

[Roman Martyrology, and those of Ado, Notker, &c. Authority : 
Mention by S. Jerome in his Ecclesiastical Writers, c. 106, 107, 132.] 

fERY little is known of this Spanish bishop, ex- 
cept that he was the author of some short works, 
of which one, named Cerbus, is lost. His 
" Epistles against the Novatians," his " Call to 
Penitence," and "Book on Baptism," addressed to cate- 
chumens, are extant His son, Flavius Dexter, probably 
born before Pacian received episcopal orders, was an inti- 
mate friend of S. Jerome. Pacian died at an advanced old 
age in the reign of Theodosius. 


(ABOUT A.D. 390.) 

[Roman Martyrology. Greek Mensea on Jan. 10th ; the Coptic Church 
on Oct. 14th and Nov. 22nd. Authorities : His own works ; S. Gregory 
Nazianzen, in his letters ; Socrates and Theodoret, in their Ecclesiastical 

S. Gregory was a younger brother of the great S. Basil, 
(June 14th,) and S. Macrina, (July 19th), and son of the 

* * 

After Dominichino. 

March, p. 172.] 

[March 9. 

* ^ 

March 9 .] .S*. Gregory of Nyssa. 1 73 

holy Eusebius and Emmelia, who are commemorated on 
May 30th. Having lost his parents, he grew to reverence 
his brother Basil as a father, and his sister was to him as a 
mother, the instructress of his youth. He was educated in 
every accomplishment of the age, and became a rhetorician. 
He was married to a virtuous wife, named Theosebia, who 
is highly praised by S. Gregory Nazianzen in his ninety-fifth 
epistle, in after years, as " an honour to the church, an orna- 
ment of Christ, the utility of our age, the confidence of 
women, the fairest and most illustrious amidst the beauty of 
the brethren, truly holy wife of a priest, his peer in honour 
and worthy of the great mysteries." These expressions, 
though somewhat exaggerated, at least point Theosebia out 
as having been held in high honour by the great saint 
of Nazianzus. Gregory took the order of Reader, but 
instead of pressing forward to the diaconate and priesthood, 
showed an inclination to pursue a wholly secular avocation 
as a rhetorician, and this drew down on him a sharp repri- 
mand from Gregory Nazianzen. Moved by this admonition, 
Gregory now resolved to turn his back upon worldly ambi- 
tion, and devote himself wholly to the service of God. He 
was ordained bishop by his brother, S. Basil, in 371, when 
he was aged about thirty-two ; and it is supposed by 
Baronius that Gregory lived with his wife in continence 
after his ordination, and that she was a deaconess. Nazi- 
anzen calls her his " holy and blessed sister," but this is 
slender ground for the conjecture. It must be remembered 
that the celibacy of the clergy, which is now required by 
the Western Church, with such advantage, was not a matter 
of rule for some centuries, and never prevailed in the 
Oriental Church. There cannot be much doubt as to the 
great benefit to the Church of a celibate priesthood, but it 
is a mistake to endeavour to force the facts of history to 
demonstrate that celibacy was of primitive obligation. It 



* >I 

174 Lives of the Saints. [Marcn 9 . 

was always felt to be most seemly, and when Western 
Christendom became sufficiently organized to admit of the 
rule being made, the popes and councils did what was evi- 
dently for the good of the Kingdom of Christ in requiring 
the clergy to lead celibate lives. 

The see of Gregory was Nyssa, a city of Cappadocia, of 
no great importance, but the brilliant qualities of the bishop, 
and his orthodoxy, made him soon conspicuous as a leader 
of the Catholics, and an object of great dread to the Arians, 
who prevailed on Demosthesus, the deputy-governor of the 
province, under the Arian Emperor Valens, to banish him. 
He spent eight years in exile, wandering from place to place, 
suffering everywhere persecution from the Arians. Shortly 
after the accession of Gratian, Gregory was restored to his 
see, and assisted at the Synod of Antioch, in 379, where he 
received the chrxge of visiting the scattered churches in 
Arabia. To enable him to execute this arduous work, the 
emperor Theodosius accorded to him the use of the govern- 
ment post-horses and chariots. 

He assisted at the council of Constantinople, in 381, 
when he was chosen to make the funeral oration upon S. 
Meletius, patriarch of Antioch, and was delegated to be one 
of the bishops to visit Pontus. In 385, he preached at 
Constantinople the funeral oration of the empress Flacilla, 
and he was present at the dedication of the church of the 
Ruffini, in Constantinople, in 394. The exact date of his 
death is not known, but it is certain that he died at an 
advanced age. 

It is unnecessary here to give a list of the writings of 
this eloquent doctor, a large number of which have been 

* {, 

S. GREGORY OF NYSSA (with square nimbus). After Cahier. 
March, p. 174. j [March 9. 


March p.] ,S. Bosa. t 75 

S. BOSA, B. C. 
(a.d. 705.) 

[Wilson, in his Anglican Martyrology. Authority : Bede.] 

The monastery of Streaneshalch, now Whitby, was 
founded and governed by S. Hilda, towards the middle of 
the seventh century. It was a double community, under 
the rule of S. Columba, which S. Aidan had introduced 
among the Northumbrians. S. Hilda governed a congrega- 
tion of men, as well as one of women, who lived in separate 
dwellings ; and such was her care that no less than five 
bishops issued from this monastery, all of them men of 
singular merit and sanctity. 

The first of these saint-like prelates named by Bede, was 
Bosa, who, upon the removal of S. Wilfrid, was taken 
from the solitude of the cloister, and ordained bishop of 
York by S. Theodore, archbishop of Canterbury, in the 
year 678. He most worthily administered the see till 700, 
when S. Wilfrid being recalled, he humbly resigned his 
charge, and returned to his monastery. 

But S. Wilfrid being again expelled, S. Bosa was once 
more called forth to the pastoral administration of the see 
of York, and this he discharged till his death, which took 
place in the year 705. He was a man of great sanctity and 
humility, says Bede. He had for his successor S. John of 
Beverley, from the same monastery. 



ij6 Lives of the Saints. [March 9 . 


(9TH CENT.) 

[Roman Martyrology. S. Cyril by the Greeks on Feb. 14th, and S. 
Methodius on May nth. Authorities : The Life of S. Clement, a pupil 
of Methodius, pub. by Pampereus, Vienna, 1802 ; the Pannonian Life of 
Methodius ; notices in the Life of S. Ludmilla ; the Chronicle of Nestor ; 
Cosmas of Prague, &c. The chronology in this article is from the treatise 
on Cyril and Methodius by Philaret, B. of Riga, Milan, 1847.] 

Cyril and Methodius, the apostles of the Sclaves, were 
brothers, the sons of a man of rank in Thessalonica. Con- 
stantine, who afterwards in religion assumed the name of 
Cyril, the younger, was educated at the court of Constan- 
tinople, along with the youthful emperor Michael, from the 
year 842, by the illustrious Photius, who instructed him in 
logic, philosophy, mathematics, and languages. His talents 
and accomplishments afforded him every prospect of a 
brilliant career in the world, but he chose to lay them at the 
foot of the cross, and, receiving sacred orders, was ap- 
pointed librarian to the palace. Soon after, he retired to a 
little monastery, but was drawn from it again to give lectures 
on philosophy. 

Methodius, his elder brother, as soon as his education 
was accomplished, entered the army, and was appointed to 
the government of the Graeco-Sclavonic province, which, ac- 
cording to the Pannonian legend, he held for ten years. 

In the year 851, Cyril retired to Mount Olympus, along 
with his brother, who had also resolved to desert the world, 
and lived in seclusion and the practice of self-discipline. In 
858, some dignitaries of the Chazars, a Hunnish race, be- 
sought the emperor to send them a learned man to instruct 
them in the true faith, and Cyril and Methodius were chosen 
for this purpose. 

How long they spent on this mission is not known exactly. 


_____ ^ 

March 9 .] SS. Cyril & Methodius. 177 

They tarried till they could organise the church among the 
Chazars, and then retired to the Crimea where they worked 
together at making a Sclavonic translation of the Holy 
Gospels. It was whilst there that they discovered what they 
believed to be the relics of S. Clement of Rome, lying to- 
gether with the anchor, which had been attached to his neck, 
where the faithful had reverently laid him. They raised the 
holy remains, and translated them to Constantinople. 

In 862, the Sclavonic princes of Pannonia, Rostislaw, 
Swaetopolk, and Kotel requested the emperor Michael and 
the patriarch Photius, to send them teachers, " because they 
were without true instructors for the people," and they 
desired to have instruction and divine worship in their own 
language. It appears that missionaries of the Latin Church 
had already penetrated amongst them, but probably had 
been unable to master the Sclavonic tongue ; at any rate, 
the Pannonians refused to accept them, and turned instead 
to the East 

None were better calculated to execute this mission than 
the brothers Methodius and Cyril, the former of whom had 
for some years governed a Sclavonic province, and both had 
been born at Thessalonica, on the confines of Sclavonic 
peoples, and where the language was familiar to the natives. 
The emperor and the patriarch felt this, and sent for them, 
and laid before them the desire of these heathen princes for 
the Gospel. The brothers at once undertook the mission, 
and set forth. On their way, Methodius was the means of 
converting the king of the Bulgarians. Boris had a sister, 
who was a Christian, having been brought up at Constanti- 
nople, whither she had been carried captive. The prince, 
who was passionately fond of hunting, desired the emperor 
to procure him a picture, which should illustrate his favourite 
pursuit, and adorn the hall of a new palace he had erected. 
Methodius was commissioned by the emperor to execute 

VOL. III. 12 



x 7 8 

Lives of the Saints. 

[March 9, 

this task, and he appeared before king Boris, not as a mis- 
sionary, but as a painter. " Let it be a good picture," said 
the prince, "large and terrible." "So shall it be," 
answered Methodius, "but one thing I demand, that I 
may be left undisturbed here to complete my picture, that 
no one may see it till it is finished." The king reluctantly 
gave his consent, and day after day passed, and the painter 
was not seen. He remained closely shut up within the 
palace. Weeks rolled by, and Boris chafed with impatience 
and curiosity. At length the doors were thrown open, and 
the king entered. Methodius had painted the Last Judg- 
ment on the wall of the new hall. Above sat Christ on the 
great white throne, and below were men receiving sentence, 
and the angels dividing them. An awe and wonder fell on 
the king's heart as he contemplated the picture. " What 
meaneth this ?" he asked. And Methodius seized the op- 
portunity of preaching to him righteousness, temperance, 
and judgment to come. He explained to the king the 
whole doctrine of the final judgment of men, their fate 
depending on their works in this world, and the king 
trembled. He went on to speak of the glories prepared 
for the baptized who keep the faith. Great and purifying 
thoughts swelled the bosom of the prince, and going up to 
the painter, he said, with his head bowed, " Take me, and 
teach me, that I too may pass to the beautiful side of the 

And when Cyril and Methodius had preached the Word 
of God among the Bulgarians, they journeyed on, bearing 
the bones of S. Clement, and their Sclavonic translation of 
the Holy Gospels, into Moravia, where they laboured about 
four and a half years with great success. The bishops of 
the neighbouring German provinces, however, viewed the 
mission of these Easterns with jealousy, and complained to 
pope Nicolas I. of their performing the liturgy in the Scla- 


March 9 .j .SVS'. Cyril & Methodius. 1 79 

vonic language. The unsuccessful war waged by Rostislaw 
with the Germans, and the deposition of Photius at Con- 
stantinople, who had commissioned the two apostles, gave 
Nicolas the opportunity of summoning the two Greek mis- 
sionaries to Rome. On their journey (in 868) they were 
subjected to vexatious treatment at Venice, on account of 
their cause, but pope Adrian II., who had succeeded 
Nicolas, dreading to lose Moravia and Pannonia, received 
them with great cordiality, permitted them to celebrate the 
divine mysteries in Sclavonic at the grave of the Apostles, 
ordained their disciples, Formosus and Gonderik, 1 bishops, 
three others priests, and two lectors. He also sanctioned 
the use of the Sclavonic liturgy. The following account 
from the Lections of the Olmutz Breviary will not prove 
uninteresting. " The blessed Cyril, by the grace of God, 
after he had converted the Moravians, invented new alpha- 
betical letters, and translated the Old and New Testaments, 
and many other things from Greek or Latin, into the Scla- 
vonic tongue ; and he appointed to be sung Mass, and the 
other canonical hours in the church. And to this day they 
are thus sung in Sclavonic parts, especially in Bulgaria, and 
thereby many souls are drawn to Christ the Lord. And 
when after some time the said Cyril went to Rome out of 
devotion, he was rebuked by the sovereign pontiff and the 
other rulers of the church, because, contrary to the canons, 
he had appointed the holy Mass to be sung in the Sclavonic 
tongue. But he, humbly endeavouring to satisfy them, but 
not able to convince them wholly, snatched up the Psalter, 
and read the words of the Psalmist, ' Let everything that 
hath breath praise the Lord.' Omnis spiritus laudet Domi- 
num. And he said, ' If every one that hath breath is to 
praise the Lord, why, my fathers, do ye forbid me to perform 

1 Gonderik, bishop of Vilitcrni, was the author of the Life of S. Clement, which 
contains much information on the life and acts of SS. Cyril and Methodius. 



180 Lives of the Saints. [March 9 . 

the Mass in the Sclavonic tongue, or to translate other things 
from Latin and Greek into the vernacular? Finding the 
people simple and ignorant of the ways of the Lord, I, by 
the inspiration of God, found this means of drawing many 
to God. Therefore, pardon me, my fathers, and, following 
the example of S. Paul, the doctor of the Gentiles, Forbid 
not to speak with tongues, (i Cor. xiv. 39.)' And they, 
hearing him, and wondering at his sanctity and faith, gave 
him authority in those parts to say Mass, and sing the 
Canonical Hours, in the aforesaid tongue." 

Cyril died in Rome shortly after, Feb. 14th, 869, in a 
monastery into which he had retired ; but Methodius, ac- 
cording to the entreaty of his dying brother, returned to 
Moravia, to find that the hostility of the German prelates 
and clergy was not allayed. Political disturbances, fomented 
by the Germans, broke out between 869 and 901, and Ros- 
tislaw was reduced to ruin. Methodius held himself aloof 
from these contests, and in 870 went with his disciples 
into Pannonia, where the court received him and gave up 
to him the castle of Salava in Mosburg, as a residence. 
Kotel now besought the pope to consecrate Methodius 
archbishop of Pannonia, and his request was complied with. 
But the German clergy, especially the archbishops of Salzburg 
and Mainz, who unfortunately were ambitious rather of ex- 
tending their authority than of preaching the Gospel to the 
people, were exasperated by this to the highest pitch, and 
they stirred up against him the German emperor and the 
Moravian prince Swaetopolk, and brought matters so far 
that he was driven into banishment for a year and a half or 
two years. Pope John VIII. restored to him his see in 
874. At last the Moravian Sclaves saw through the ambi- 
tion of the bishops his opponents, and expelled them 
the country, at the same time writing to the pope to request 
him to appoint Methodius archbishop of Moravia. This 


March 9 .] .SVS'. Cyril & Methodius. 181 

John VIII. consented to, and "from this time," says the 
contemporary writer of the Pannonian history of S. Metho- 
dius, "the divine doctrine began to grow and spread rapidly, 
and heathenism and superstition to disappear." But the 
archbishops of Salzburg and Mainz, who claimed jurisdic- 
tion over the Sclavonic races, though not converted by them, 
could not forgive Methodius the loss of their power and 
position in the country. They hastened to Rome, and 
complained that Methodius was heretical on the subject of 
the Double Procession, that he taught the independence of 
the Moravian Church, and that he celebrated the Liturgy in 
the vulgar tongue. Pope John thereupon, in 878, forbade 
the performance of the Liturgy in Sclavonic, and in the 
following year summoned Methodius to appear before him 
in Rome. The German- Latin prelates triumphed ; they 
appeared in Moravia, and declared that Methodius was de- 
posed, and that his authority had been transferred to them. 
But pope John, on the appearance of the apostle before 
him, was satisfied of his orthodoxy, and confirmed him 
in his position and authority over the Moravian Church. 
Disappointed in their hope of ruining Methodius at 
Rome, the German prelates now spread the report that 
the archbishop had incurred the displeasure of the em- 
peror by his submission to the pope. Methodius was 
therefore obliged to make a journey to Constantinople, 
where he was cordially received by the emperor Basil, and 
then dismissed with many presents. As soon as it was 
proved that the report of the anger of the imperial court 
was false, the enemies of Methodius endeavoured to dispose 
Swaetopolk, the prince, against him ; and this they were the 
more able to effect, because the prince was a man of im- 
moral life, and had incurred the reprimand of the arch- 
bishop on more than one occasion. Gradually, influenced 
by these treacherous aposUes of Mammon, rather than of 



1 82 Lives of the Saints. [March y . 

Jesus Christ, Swaetopolk became alienated from Methodius ; 
but in spite of all their efforts, and the coldness of the 
prince, all the Sclavonic races, from Croatia and Dalmatia to 
the confines of Poland, heard in their own tongue the 
celebration of the Divine mysteries, and looked to Me- 
thodius as their archbishop. Moreover he effected the 
conversion of the Bohemian Duke Borivoi, and introduced 
Christianity into his lands. He founded at Prague the 
church of Our Lady, and another dedicated to SS. Peter 
and Paul ; and died on April 6th, 885. 

Relics of S. Cyril at Rome in S. Clemente, and at Brunn, 
in Moravia. In Art S. Cyril is represented in a philoso- 
pher's long habit, and bearded. S. Methodius as an arch- 
bishop with the pallium, holding in one hand a picture of 
the Last Judgment 

(a.d. 1463.) 

[Roman Martyrology. Her name was inserted by Clement VIII., in 
1592 ; and she was canonized by Benedict XIII., in 1724. Authority : 
Her life written by F. Paleotti, about fifty years after her death.] 

Catharine was the daughter of noble parents. Her father, 
John Vigri, was high in favour with Nicholas d'Este, prince 
of Ferrara. She was born on the Nativity of the B. Virgin, 
141 2, at Bologna, where she spent her childhood; but 
growing up to girlhood she removed with her parents to 
Ferrara, and became the associate of Margaret, daughter 
of the prince. At the age of eleven she joined the order of 
the Poor Clares, and entered the convent of that society in 
Bologna, with the consent of her parents. "Thus with- 
drawn from all terrestral occupations," says her biographer, 
" she began to serve God with such fervour of soul, that all 


From Stou^hton's ' ' Italian Reformers." 

March, p. 182.] 

[March 9. 

Mactj 9 .j S. Catharine of Bologna. 183 

began to marvel at her. So great was her gentleness, so 
great her reverence and obedience towards others, as long 
as she lived, that she soon became beloved and pleasant to 
all, and almost venerable in her early girlhood. Wherever 
she was, and with whomsoever she conversed, she spoke 
either of God or with God, so that, though her body was on 
earth, her soul was ever in heaven. And although she was 
tormented with grievous temptations which tried her 
almost out of measure, yet was she always of a glad counte- 
nance." She grew daily more devoted to prayer ; and her 
greatest delight was to spend many hours in close commun- 
ing with God. One Christmas Eve she obtained permission 
to spend the night in the church, having resolved to recite 
a thousand times the Angelic Salutation in honour of her 
who that night bore the Saviour of the world. The hours 
glided away in the church in all stillness, save for the click 
of the beads in Catharine's fingers, and in all darkness, 
save for the glimmer of the red lamp before the Blessed 
Sacrament Suddenly, a glory filled the church, and she 
saw before her the holy Mother bearing her infant Son in 
her bosom, and smiling on the young religious, S. Mary laid 
the child Jesus in her arms. It was a moment of supreme 
felicity, and one painters have loved to recall, as she held 
to her heart her Redeemer and God, and looked down on 
His radiant face. Then, trembling between love and fear, 
she bent her lips to his mouth, and instantly all was dark ; 
the vision had fled. When she returned to her cell she 
wrote down what she had seen on the margin of her 
breviary, where it was found after her death. 

Margaret d'Este, her little friend in childhood, had grown 
up, and was married to a good man, Robert Malatesta, 1 
who, however, died and left her a disconsolate widow. The 
prince of Ferrara was desirous of marrying his daughter 

1 Robert was only eighteen when he married her, and she was much younger. 

. * 

184 Lives of the Saints. [March 9 . 

again, but Margaret clung to the memory of her first 
husband, and besought her friend Catharine to assist her 
with her prayers. And it fell out that on the very day 
of the second marriage the bridegroom died. Next night 
Margaret saw Robert come to her, and extending to her the 
wedding ring, say, " Margaret, I marry thee again, thou 
must be mine alone !" and she spent the rest of her days in 
a holy widowhood. A convent of Poor Clares having been 
founded in Bologna, S. Catharine was appointed to be the 
first prioress, in spite of her tears and entreaties to be left to 
the calm seclusion of her cell, and the subordinate duties of 
a sister. She dreaded lest the cares and business which fall 
to a superior should leave her less time for contemplation 
and prayer. 

On her way from Ferrara to her new home she sickened, 
but persevered in her journey, though carried on a litter to 
the boat, and when placed in it, was given a blessed candle 
to hold, as is usual with dying persons, in case she should 
die on the journey. She however recovered, sufficiently to 
set the new house in order, and to complete the construc- 
tion of some of the buildings ; and then after the flame of 
life had again sunk, and once more flickered up, calmly 
entered into the joy of her Lord on March 9th, 1463, at 
the age of fifty-one. 

Her body, incorrupt, is shown in the church of her 
convent, through glass, sitting, richly habited, but with face, 
hands, and feet bare. 

j< _ >{< 


March 9 ] .S. Frances of Rome. 185 

(a.d. 1440.) 

[Roman Martyrology. Canonized by Paul V. , in 1608. Authorities : 
Her life by her confessor, John Mattiotti, and another by Maria Magdalena 
d'Aguillar. The following life is condensed from that by Lady Georgiana 
Fullerton. ] 

Frances of Rome was born in stormy days. War was 
raging all over Europe. Italy was torn by inward dissen- 
tions, and the Church was afflicted, not only by the outward 
persecutions which strengthens her vitality, though for a 
while they appear to cripple her action, but by trials of a far 
deeper and more painful nature. Heresy had torn from 
her arms a great number of her children, and repeated 
schisms were dividing those who, in appearance, and even 
in intention, remained faithful to the Holy See. The 
successors of S. Peter had removed the seat of their resi- 
dence to Avignon, and the eternal city presented the aspect 
of one vast battle-field, on which daily and hourly conflicts 
were occurring. In the capital of Western Christendom 
ruins of recent date lay side by side with the relics of past 
ages ; the churches were sacked, burned, and destroyed, 
and the eyes of the people of Rome were turned beseech- 
ingly to Heaven to restore to them that tranquillity to which 
they had almost become strange. 

It was at that time, during the pontificate of Urban VI., 
in the year 1384, that Francesca was born at Rome; that 
"she rose as a star in a dark night," according to the 
expression of the most ancient of her biographers. Her 
father's name was Paul Russa; her mother's Jacobella de* 
Roffredeschi ; they were both of noble descent On the 
day of her birth she was carried to the Church of S. Agnes, 
and there baptized. 

Little could the worshippers who may have been praying 

* * 

1 86 Lives of the Saints. [March 9 . 

there that day for a blessing on their bereaved and dis- 
tracted city, have guessed in what form that blessing was 
bestowed, and that that little babe, a few hours old, was to 
prove a most powerful instrument in the hands of God for 
the extinction of schism, the revival of piety, and the return 
of peace. 

From her infancy, Francesca was not like other children. 
At two or three years old she manifested a precocious 
intelligence and piety. Instead of playing, she loved to 
retire into a silent corner of her father's palace, and kneeling 
down join her little hands in prayer. 

From the time that Francesca had understood the mean- 
ing of the words, her greatest desire had been to enter a 
convent; it was therefore with profound grief that she 
received, at the age of twelve, the announcement from her 
father that he had promised her hand to Lorenzo Ponziano, 
a young nobleman of illustrious birth, and not less eminent 
for his virtues and talents than from his fortune and po- 
sition. She flew to her director and besought his advice. 
" If your parents persist in their resolution," said he, " take 
it, my child, as a sign that God expects of you this sacrifice. 
Offer up to him in that case your earnest desire for the 
religious life. He will accept the will for the deed ; and 
you will attain at once the reward of that wish, and the 
peculiar graces attached to the sacrament of marriage." 
Francesca submitted, and was married to Lorenzo Ponziano, 
and took up her abode in his palace in the heart of the 
Trastevere. It is a well-known spot; and on the 9th of 
March, the people of Rome flock to it in crowds. The 
modern building erected on the foundations of the old 
palace is the Casa dei Esercizii Pii. On the day of her 
festival its rooms are thrown open, every memorial of the 
gentle saint is exhibited, lights burn on numerous altars, 
flowers deck the passages, leaves are strewn in the chapel, 



March 9 .] 6". Frances of Rome. 187 

on the stairs, in the entrance court ; figured tapestry and 
crimson silks hang over the door, and crowds of people go in 
and out, and kneel before the relics and pictures of the dear 
saint of Rome, and gaze on each altar, and linger in these 
chambers, like kinsfolk met on a birthday to rejoice together. 
Francesca was received into her new home tenderly and 
joyfully by her father-in-law Andrew, his wife Cecilia, and 
Vannozza, the wife of her husband's brother, a holy and 
loving woman, in whom Francesca found a kindred spirit 
The manner of Francesca was so gentle and kind, that it 
inspired affection in all who approached her ; but there was 
also a profound and awful purity in her aspect and in her 
demeanour, which effectually checked the utterance of a 
free or licentious word in her presence. Faithful to her 
early habits of piety, she continued every Wednesday to 
visit the church of S. Maria Nuova j and after confessing to 
her director, Antonio Savelli, she communicated. Rising 
betimes in the morning, Francesca devoutly said her 
prayers, made her meditations, and read attentively out of a 
spiritual book. In the course of the day, whenever she had 
a moment's leisure, she withdrew into a church, or into her 
own room, and gave herself up to prayer. At the same 
time, so devout a life in a young person of twelve years old 
could not fail to attract the attention and draw down the 
censures of the worldly. Many such began to laugh at 
Francesca, and to turn her piety into ridicule. But her 
husband was to her a shield, as far as in him lay, against 
spiteful tongues. His young wife was much too precious to 
him, much too perfect in his sight, her whole life bore too 
visibly the stamp of God's dealings with her, for him to 
dream of interfering with the course she had taken. On the 
contrary, he looked upon her with that affectionate vene- 
ration which the presence of true sanctity always awakens 
in a noble and religious mind. 



1 88 Lives of the Saints. [March 9. 

There was not a single member, friend, or servant, of that 
noble family into which she had been received, that did not 
love her. Paluzzo, Lorenzo's brother, delighted in encour- 
aging the intimacy that had arisen between his young sister- 
in-law and his own wife Vannozza. Day by day her influence 
her tender, noiseless, gentle influence was felt subduing, 
winning, drawing them all to God. 

The happiness which the family of Ponziano had enjoyed 
since Lorenzo's marriage was interrupted by the sudden and 
dangerous illness of his wife, which baffled all medical skill, 
and soon brought her to the verge of the grave. She 
endured excruciating pain, and was unable to take nourish- 
ment. She declined rapidly, and all hope of her recovery 
was abandoned, when, one night, as she was lying motion- 
less on her couch of suffering, listening to the breathing of 
her nurses who had fallen asleep, a sudden light filled the 
room, and she saw standing before her in pilgrim's robe, 
S. Alexis, the noble Roman penitent, who had passed many 
years as a despised beggar at the door of his father's palace. 
Drawing near to Francesca's bed, he said " I am Alexis, 
and am sent from God to enquire of thee if thou choosest 
to be healed ?" " I have no choice but the good pleasure 
of God," she answered. " Then live," said he, " for He 
choosest that thou shouldest remain in the world to glorify 
His name." Then he drew his mantle over Francesca 
and vanished, leaving her perfectly recovered. 

Confounded at this extraordinary favour, she rose in 
haste, and slipping out of the room without awaking her 
nurses, she hurried to the bedside of her sister-in-law. 
" My dear Vannozza, my own Vannozza \" she exclaimed, 
putting her arm round her neck, and her cheek next hers. 
Vannozza suddenly awoke, and distrusting the evidence of 
her senses, said, " Who are you ? Am I dreaming ? It 
sounds like the voice of my little Frances ?" " Yes, it is 



warch 9 .] S. Frances of Rome. 189 

your little sister who is speaking to you." "What! I left 
you only an hour ago at the point of death !" " It is I, 
nevertheless, come to thank you, dear companion, for 
having nursed me so tenderly, and now help me to thank 
God for his wonderful mercy towards me." Then sitting on 
her bed, with the hands of her sister clasped in her own, 
she related to her the vision, and the instantaneous re- 
covery that had followed ; and then, as the light began to 
break into the chamber, she added with eagerness, "Now 
let us hasten to S. Maria Nuova, and then to the church of 
S. Alexis, that I may return him my thanks, before others 
learn what God has done for me." 

The year 1400 opened under melancholy auspices. The 
wars for the succession of the kingdom of Naples between 
Louis of Anjou and Ladislas were agitating the whole of 
Italy ; and Rome was exposed to all the fury of the contend- 
ing parties. Lorenzo Ponziano, from his rank and fidelity to 
the sovereign pontiff, was especially marked out as an 
enemy by the adverse faction. But while on every side the 
storm was brewing, and the aspect of public affairs each day 
became more gloomy, a blessing was granted him, which 
for the last five years he had ardently desired. Francesca 
became the mother of a little son, who received at the font 
the name of John Baptist, or, in Italian, Giovanni Baptista. 
It was not at that time the custom for ladies of rank to 
nurse their children ; but Francesca set aside all such 
considerations, and never consented to forego a mother's 
sacred privilege. 

In obedience to her director, and guided by her own 
sense of duty, she modified, for the time being her usual 
mode of life, and occupied herself with the care of her child 
in preference to all other observances of charity or of 

About a year after, Lorenzo's mother died, and Frances 


* * 

190 Lives of the Saints. [March 9 . 

was called to take her place as head of the household, and 
to superintend all the domestic affairs. Distressed at the 
proposal, she pleaded her youth and inexperience, and 
urged that Vannozza, as the wife of the eldest brother, was, 
as a matter of course, entitled to that position. Vannozza, 
however, steadily refused it, and at length, overcome by the 
general importunity, Francesca found herself obliged to 
comply. Now it was that her merit shone conspicuously. 
Placed at the head of the most opulent house in Rome, no 
symptom of pride revealed itself in her looks or in her 
actions. She was never heard to speak a harsh or impatient 
word. Firm in requiring every person in her house to fulfil 
their duties, she did it in the gentlest manner. Always 
courteous to her servants, she watched over their souls as 
precious treasures entrusted to her custody by God. 

Francesca had just attained the age of twenty when her 
second son was born. He was baptized on the day of his 
birth, and received the name of John Evangelist. He 
might well have been termed his mother's own child ; for in 
his veriest infancy, he showed that he had inherited her 
sweetness and spirit of devotion. He was to her as one of 
God's own angels, and tears of joy filled her eyes as she 
mused on the extraordinary signs of grace which he daily 
evinced. Evangelista was not quite three years old when 
his little sister Agnes was born, who in beauty, heavenly 
sweetness of temper, and precocious piety, proved the 
counterpart of her brother. 

In the year 1409, when she was about twenty-seven years 
old, Francesca's temporal calamities began. After Ladislas 
of Naples, befriended by the enemies of the pope, had in 
1498 gained possession of Rome, he left behind him as 
governor of the city the count of Troja, a rough and brutal 
soldier. In an engagement with the count's soldiers 
Lorenzo Ponziano was stabbed, and taken up and carried 

March 9 .) S. Frances of Rome. 191 

home as if dead. Francesca however found that he still 
breathed, and by her unremitting attention, he was re- 
stored to health. 

Meanwhile the count of Troja, pressed on every side, 
began to foresee the necessity of leaving Rome ; but, in 
his exasperation, resolved previously to wreak his vengeance 
on the families most devoted to the pope, and especially on 
that of the Ponziani. He accordingly arrested Paluzzo, 
Vannozza's husband, and understanding that Lorenzo had a 
son of eight or nine years old, he commanded that he 
should be given up into his hands as a hostage. 

This was to Francesca a trial almost beyond endurance, 
as she trembled for the soul of her little one about to be 
committed to unprincipled soldiers. The report of the 
order had spread through Rome, and as she passed through 
the streets clasping the hand of her dear child whom she 
was about to surrender, crowds of commiserating women 
pressed round her. She mounted the Capitol, walked 
straight to where the tyrant was standing, and gave up her 
son to him, and then, without once looking back, she 
hastened to the church of Ara Coeli, and falling prostrate 
before the feet of the Mother of Mercy, poured out her soul 
in tears and supplication. In the mean time the count of 
Troja had ordered one of his officers to take little Baptista 
on his horse, and carry him away to a place he appointed ; 
but from the instant the child was placed on the saddle, no 
efforts could induce the animal to stir. Four of the knights 
of Naples renewed the attempt with other horses, and the 
same result. There is a strength greater than man's will ; 
there is a power that defeats human malice. Struck with a 
secret terror by this evident prodigy, the count of Troja 
gave up the unequal contest, and ordered the child to be 
restored to his mother. Before the altar of Ara Cceli, where 
in her anguish she had fallen, Francesca received back into 


192 Lives of the Saints. [March 9 

her arms the son of her love, and blessed the God who had 
given her strength to go through this the severest of her 

The States of the Church and Rome were again overrun 
by the troops of Ladislas, in 1410. The horrors of this 
invasion, and of the sack that followed it, surpassed in 
atrocity almost all those that had previously afflicted the 
capital of Western Christendom. Lorenzo, scarcely re- 
covered from his long illness, fled into a distant province. 
It had been impossible to remove his wife and children ; 
and Francesca remained exposed to a succession of the 
most trying disasters. The wealth of the family chiefly 
consisted in their country possessions; and day after day 
intelligence was brought to her that one farmhouse or 
another was burnt or pillaged, the cattle dispersed or 
destroyed, and the peasants murdered by a ruthless soldiery. 
One fatal morning a troop of savage ruffians, drunk with 
rage, broke into the palace, and after pillaging, and all but 
destroying the time-honoured residence of the Ponziani, 
carried off her son Baptista. In the space of a few hours 
that gorgeous abode was turned into a heap of ruins. 
Bereft of her husband, of her son, and of all the conven- 
iences of life, Francesca, with her two younger children, 
remained alone, and unprotected, for her brother-in-law, 
Paluzzo, was still a prisoner in the tyrant's hands. How 
Baptista escaped is not recorded, but by some means 01 
other he was enabled to get away from Rome and rejoin his 

Francesca took shelter in a corner of her ruined habita- 
tion ; and there, with Evangelista and Agnese, she managed 
to live in the most complete seclusion. These two chil- 
dren were now their mother's only comfort, as their 
education was her principal occupation. Evangelista, as he 
advanced in age, in no way belied the promise of his in- 


*- * 

March g] 6". Frances of Rome. 193 

fancy. He lived in spirit with the angels and saints, and 
seemed more fitted for their society than for any earthly 
companionship. " To be with God," was his only dream of 
bliss. The hour for another sacrifice was at hand. The 
second invasion of Rome was succeeded by a dreadful 
famine, which was followed in its turn by a severe pesti- 
lence. Evangelista sickened and died of it. Francesca 
wept over the loss of her dearly-beloved child, but did not 
grieve for him. It was not a time for indulgence of sorrow. 
Want and sickness were turning Rome into a charnel 
house. Wild voices were screaming for bread on every 
side. The streets were encumbered by the victims of the 
plague. The ruin of private property, the general penury 
occasioned by the extortion of Ladislas, and the sacking of 
Rome by his soldiers, had cut off almost all the resources of 
private charity. Francesca, bereaved of everything but 
her one little girl, and lodged with Vannozza in a corner of 
their dismantled house, had no longer at her command the 
resources she had formerly possessed for the relief of the 
poor. A little food from their ruined estates was now and 
then supplied to these lonely women ; and they stinted 
themselves, that they might bestow the greatest part on the 
sick and poor. There was a large hall in the lower part of 
the palace ; the sisters converted it into a temporary 
hospital ; out of the shattered furniture that lay scattered 
about the house, they contrived to make up beds and 
covering, and to prepare some clothing for the wretched 
creatures they were about to receive. When all was 
ready they brought in sufferers, carrying the weakest in 
their arms. They washed and dressed their wounds and 
sores, prepared both medicine and food, watched the sick 
by day and by night ; laboured incessantly for their bodies, 
and still more for their souls. The example which the 
ruined and bereaved wives of the Ponziani had given 

vol. hi. 13 
* * 

* * 

194 Lives of the Saints. [March 9 . 

kindled a similar spirit among the hitherto apathetic 
inhabitants of Rome, and in several places hospitals were 
opened to the perishing multitudes. 'Often Francesca and 
Vannozza were without a morsel of food for themselves and 
their poor, then they went forth to beg, and gratefully 
accepted the broken bits that fell from the table of the 
wealthy. Each remnant of food, each rag of clothing, they 
brought home with joy; and the best was invariably be- 
stowed on their guests. 

Evangelista had been dead about a year, when one morn- 
ing as Francesca was praying in her oratory, she became 
conscious that the little room was suddenly and super- 
naturally illumined. She raised her eyes, and Evangelista 
stood before her ; his familiar aspect unchanged, but his 
features transfigured and beaming with ineffable splendour. 
By his side stood an angel of exquisite beauty. Evangelista 
smiling on his mother, told her of his present happiness, 
and then bade her prepare to surrender her little Agnese, 
for God called the child. But a consolation was promised 
her. Thenceforth the angel who stood beside Evangelista 
was to be ever with her, as a visible companion. Having 
said this, Evangelista disappeared, but the angel remained, 
and to the day of her death was ever present to her sight 

The following is the description of the angel as given by 
Francesca to her confessor, and written down by her, at his 
order : 

" His stature is that of a child, of about nine years ; his 
countenance full of sweetness and majesty ; his eyes gene- 
rally turned towards heaven. Words cannot describe the 
divine purity of that gaze. His brow is always serene ; his 
glances kindle in the soul the flame of ardent devotion. 
When I look upon him, I understand the glory of the 
angelic nature, and the degraded condition of our own. He 
wears a long, shining robe, and over it a tunic, either as 

*- i 

* * 

March 9 .] S. Frances of Rome. 195 

white as the lilies of the field, or of the colour of a red rose, 
or of the hue of the sky, when it is most deeply blue. 
When he walks at my side his feet are never soiled by the 
mud of the streets, or the dust of the roads." 

The presence of her heavenly guide was to her as a 
mirror, in which she could see reflected every imperfection 
of her character. Much as she had discerned, even from 
her earliest childhood, of the corruption of her heart, yet 
she often told her director that it was only since she had 
been continually in the presence of an angelic companion 
that she had'realised its amount. So that this divine favour, 
far from exalting her in her own eyes, served to maintain 
her in the deepest humility. When she committed any 
fault, the angel faded away, and it was only when she had 
felt compunction and confessed her fault, that he shone out 
upon her once more in all his brilliancy. 

And now her little Agnes was taken from her, and was 
laid beside her brother Evangelista. 

Four long years had elapsed, during which Rome had 
been given up to war, famine, and pestilence. The exer- 
tions of Francesca told at last on her enfeebled frame, and 
she fell dangerously ill. Vannozza never left her bedside, 
and nursed her with such love and care that she restored 
her to health. It was during this illness that Francesca had 
a vision of Hell. And now, in 1414, Ladislas died, and 
peace was restored to the States of the Church. The Pon- 
ziani were recalled from banishment, and their property was 
restored. Lorenzo and his son Baptista returned to their 
home, and to the wife and mother they had so longed to 
behold again. But the cup of joy was mixed with sorrow. 
Lorenzo, who a few years back was strong and active, was 
now broken by long sufferings, aged more through exile and 
grief than through years. We are told that when he entered 
his palace and looked upon his wife, deep sobs shook his 

* * 

$ * 

1 96 Lives of the Saints. [March 9 . 

breast, and he burst into tears. The two beautiful children 
whom he had left by her side were gone, and Francesca 
herself, pale with recent sickness, spent with ceaseless labour, 
was changed in form, and bloom, and brightness, by what 
she also had endured. 

The household life was now to some extent restored. 
Francesca devoted all her leisure moments to prayer, but 
never allowed her spiritual exercises to interfere with her 
duty as a wife and mistress of a household. Her attention 
to Lorenzo's slightest wants and wishes was unceasing. 
She never complained of any amount of interruption or of 
trouble which his claims, or those of the house, or of her 
position in society, occasioned. One day that she was 
reciting in her room the office of the Blessed Virgin, her 
husband sent for her. Instantly rising from her knees, she 
obeyed his summons. When she had performed the trifling 
service he required, she returned to her prayers. Four suc- 
cessive times, for the most insignificant of purposes, was 
she sent for ; each time with unwearied good humour she 
complied, and resumed her devotions without a shadow of 
discontent or annoyance. On resuming her book the last 
time that this occurred, great was her astonishment in find- 
ing the antiphon which she had begun four times, and had 
four times left unfinished, written in letters of gold. Van- 
nozza, who was present, witnessed the miracle, and the 
gilded letters remained in the book to the day of her death. 

Her son, Baptista, had now arrived at the age of eighteen, 
and at his father's advice he married a maiden, named 
Mobilia, of noble birth and singular beauty. Immediately 
upon her marriage, the bride came to reside under the same 
roof as her father and mother-in-law. She was received as 
a beloved daughter by Francesca and Vannozza, but she 
neither returned their affection nor appeared sensible to 
their kindness. Her head was completely turned at finding 

jt * 

March 9 .] S. Frances of Rome. 197 

herself her own mistress, adored by her husband, and fur- 
nished with the most ample means of gratifying all her 
fancies. She gave no thought to anything but her beauty, 
her dress, and all the amusements within her reach. Wholly 
inexperienced, she declined to ask or to receive advice, and 
chose in every respect to be guided by her inclinations 
alone. Imperious with her equals, haughty with her supe- 
riors, she treated her mother-in-law with the most supreme 
contempt. In the gay societies which she frequented, it 
was her favourite amusement to turn Francesca into ridicule, 
and mimic her manners and style of conversation. " How 
can one feel respect," said she, " for an old woman who 
thinks of nothing but the poor, dresses plainly, and goes 
about the streets carrying bread and old clothes ?" 

It was in vain that Baptista, seriously annoyed at the 
insults offered to his dearly-loved mother, remonstrated with 
his wife. Mobilia persisted for long, till struck with sudden 
illness in the midst of a sharp and bitter speech addressed 
to her mother-in-law, she became alarmed lest God should 
punish her with greater severity, and she resolved to behave 
towards her with respect and love. And this grew till the 
young wife became passionately fond of Francesca, and 
venerated her for her virtues, which she strove hard to 
imitate. Francesca, with the most watchful love, nursed 
Mobilia in her confinements, and bestowed on her grand- 
children the same cares that she had lavished on her own 
children. It was a great relief to her that Mobilia was able 
to assume the management of the house, and thus enable 
her to devote herself more unreservedly to the service of 
the poor and of the hospitals. A new epoch was now at 
hand in her career. God had placed in her heart many 
years ago a hope, which she had nursed in secret, and 
watered with tears, and fostered by prayer. Never impa- 
tient, never beforehand with God's providence, she waited. 

* , , 

198 Lives of the Saints. [March 9. 

Lorenzo's admiration and affection for his wife had gone on 
increasing with advancing years ; the perfection of her life, 
and the miracles he had so often seen her perform, inspired 
him with unbounded reverence. Taking her aside one 
day, he offered to release her from all the obligations im- 
posed by the state of marriage, to allow her the fullest 
liberty of action, and the most absolute control over her 
person, her time, and her conduct, on one condition, that 
she would promise never to cease to inhabit his house. 
She accepted his proposal joyfully and gratefully, but she 
continued to devote herself to her excellent husband, and 
with the most attentive solicitude to render him every ser- 
vice in her power. He was now in very declining health, 
and she rendered him by day and by night all the cares of 
the tenderest nurse. 

Seeing the necessity of a religious society for women 
living in the world, Francesca now formed a congregation 
of pious women, which was affiliated to the Olivetian 
monastery of S. Maria Nuova, and which comprised about 
ten noble Roman ladies, devoted like herself and Vannozza, 
to the service of God and the poor. She now lost her be- 
loved sister Vannozza, and her director, Antonio Savelli, who 
had instructed her childhood, and guided her ever since with 
wisdom and faithfulness. She chose as her director and 
that of her congregation, Giovanni Mattiotti, curate of S. 
Maria in Trastevere, to whom she had already sometimes 
been to confession. He was a man of distinguished piety, 
but of an irresolute and vacillating disposition, easily dis- 
heartened. Her society, which was called the Congregation 
of Oblates of Mary, had lasted seven years, when Francesca 
decided that it would be advisable that it should have a 
convent in which to dwell. She took a house adapted to 
the requirements of a religious community, on the spot 
where an old tower, named "Tor di Specchi," used to 

tit g 

* , 

March 9 .] S. Frances of Rome. 199 

stand. Various obstacles arose to the purchase of this 
house, which disheartened Mattiotti ; but they were finally 
overcome, and the acquisition was completed towards the 
end of the year 1432. This house, which was at first con- 
sidered only as a temporary residence, was subsequently 
added to, and has remained to this day the central house of 
the order. It was, doubtless, a trial to Francesca that whilst 
she was providing a home for her disciples, she was unable 
to avail herself of it, but she never hesitated as to her line 
of duty. Lorenzo had released her from all obligations but 
one, that of residing in his house, and watching over his old 
age. His infirmities were increasing, and her attentions 
were indispensable to his comfort. The rule adopted by 
the Oblates of Tor di Specchi remains the same to this day. 
They are not, strictly speaking, nuns : they take no vows, 
and are bound by no obligations under pain of sin ; they 
are not cloistered, and their dress is that which was worn at 
the period of their establishment by the widows of the 
Roman nobles. 

It was on the Feast of the Annunciation, 1433, that the 
Oblates, ten in number, met in the church of S. Maria in 
Trastevere, heard Mass, and communicated, then went in 
procession to the house they were thenceforth to inhabit. 
That house, which now-a-days is thrown open during the 
Octave of the Feast of S. Frances, is no gloomy abode. The 
beautiful chapel ; the garden, with its magnificent orange 
trees ; the open galleries, with their little oratories, where a 
holy picture or figure takes you by surprise, and meets you 
at every turn ; the light, airy rooms, where religious prints 
and ornaments, with flowers, birds, and ingenious toys, 
testify that innocent enjoyments are encouraged among the 
children educated therein by the Oblates of S. Mary. 

But on the day when Francesca's companions first entered 
these walls, there was nothing very fair or beautiful to greet 

* * 

* * 

200 Lives of the Saints. [March 9 . 

them, though they carried thither, in their hearts, from the 
altar they had just left, the source of all light and love. 
With delight they exchanged their ordinary dress for that 
which the rule prescribed. Francesca alone stood among 
them no nun in her outward garb, but the truest nun of all, 
through the inward consecration of her whole being to God. 
Francesca had been forty years married to Lorenzo Pon- 
ziano, and blessed had that union been by the tender 
affection which had reigned between the husband and the 
wife, and sanctified by the exercise of no common virtues, 
by the pursuit of no transitory object. Francesca had led 
the way, in meekness, in humility, in subjection, but with a 
single aim and an unwavering purpose. Lorenzo's health 
had been breaking up for some years past, and now it 
utterly failed, and his disease assumed an alarming char- 
acter. Few men would have shown themselves as worthy 
as he did of such a wife as Francesca. From the moment 
of his marriage he had appreciated her virtues, rejoiced in 
her piety, encouraged her good works, and to a great extent 
shared in them. He had his reward. Francesca tended 
him to the last with indefatigable love. He had been a just 
man, and his death was the death of the righteous. Fran- 
cesca was now free to follow the bent of her desire. She 
took leave of Mobilia and her son, and went straight to 
Tor di Specchi. It was on the 21st of March, the feast of 
S. Benedict, that she entered its walls, not as the foundress, 
but as a humble suppliant for admission. At the foot of 
the stairs, having taken off her black gown, her veil, and 
her shoes, she knelt down, and made her general confession 
in the presence of the community, and then asked permis- 
sion to dwell amongst the Oblates. The spiritual daughters 
of S. Frances hastened to raise and to embrace her, and 
clothing her with their habit, they led the way to the chapel, 
where they all returned thanks to God. 




March 9 .] 6*. Fra,7ices of Rome. 201 

At the same moment, her angel guardian was changed ; 
another, brighter and more beautiful, stood beside her, 
weaving a golden woof out of threads, which he drew from 
a palm branch. And this angel, ever busy on this mystic 
work, remained beside her till her death, in place of the 

Agnes de Lellis, the superior, then resigned her office, 
and the sisters with one accord insisted on Francesca assum- 
ing the direction of the house. She positively refused to 
do so, but her objections were overruled by the director, 
and unable to resist his orders, she assumed the office on 
March 25 th. 

We have not space to give an account of the life of the 
blessed Francesca as a superior, or to detail the miracles 
she was enabled to work ; for these we refer the English 
reader to the life of this saint by Lady Georgiana Fullerton. 
On March 3rd, 1440, when Francesca was fifty-six years 
old, she was sent for to see her son Baptista, who was laid 
up with a sharp attack of fever. She instantly obeyed the 
summons, and spent the day at the Ponziano palace ; but 
towards evening she grew so ill that she could scarcely 
stand. However, she persisted in returning to her convent 
On her way she stopped at the church of S. Maria in 
Trastevere, and found there her confessor, Giovanni 
Mattiotti, who, noticing her altered looks, ordered her at 
once to return to her son's house. The order was a trial 
to her, for she felt that she would never again enter the 
hallowed walls of Tor di Specchi ; but, faithful to the spirit 
of perfect obedience, she went back to the palace. In the 
course of the night a virulent fever came on, and she be- 
came so seriously ill that all hopes of her recovery were 
abandoned. And now the angel had nearly done his mystic 
task, the golden web was complete, and he folded up the 
glistening tissue about the palm. The day of March 9th 

* g, 




Lives of the Saints. 

[March 9. 

was far advanced. " What are you saying ?" asked her con- 
fessor, seeing her lips move. "The vespers of the Blessed 
Virgin," she answered, in a scarcely audible voice. As an 
infant she had begun the practice ; and on the eve of her 
death she had not omitted it. 

S. Francesca was canonized May 29th, 1608. 

Relics in S. Maria Nuova, at Rome. 

In art she appears with an angel by her side, sometimes 
contemplating Hell open. 

Symbolic carving at the Abbey of S. Denis 




March xai .SS. Codratus and Others. 203 

March 10. 

SS. Caius and Alexander, MM. at Apamea, in Phrygia, after 

a.d. 171. 
SS. Codratus, Dionysius, Cyprian, Anectos, and Others, 

MM. at Corinth, circ. a.d. 2$8. 
SS. Forty Martyrs of Sebaste, cire. a.d. 330. 
S. Macarius, B. of Jerusalem, circ. a.d. 33J. 
S. Kersoo, B. in Scotland, 6th cent. 
S. Anastasius the Patrician, C. in Egypt, a.d. 567. 
S. Droctoveus, Ab. at S. Germain, in Paris, circ. a.d. 576. 
S. Attalus, Ab. of Bobbio, in Italy, a.d. 626. 
S. Hymelin, P. at fisenaeken, in Belgium, 8th cent. 
B. John Sarcander, P.M. at Holleschan, in Upper Silesia, a.d. 1620. 1 


(AFTER A.D. 171.) 

[Roman Martyrology, and those of Ado, Notker, &c. Authority : 
Eusebius, lib. v. c. 16.] 

OTHING more of these martyrs is known than 
the brief mention in Eusebius, quoting from 
Apollinaris of Hierapolis, that they were natives 
of Eumenia, and that they suffered at Apamea. 


(ABOUT A.D. 258.) 

[Inserted in the Menologium of the Emperor Basil Porphyrogeneta, 
also in the Roman Martyrology. Authority : A Greek life published by 
Bollandus, of uncertain date, and very questionable authority.] 

In the persecution of Decius many Christians fled to the 
mountains and deserts until the tyranny was overpast. 

1 Roman Martyrology. He was born at Skotsoehan, in 1576, then became priest 
of Holleschan, where he was put to death with the utmost barbarity by Protes- 
tants, on March 10th, 1614, partly out of hatred to his religion, partly because he 
would not disclose the secrets of the confessional. 


204 Lives of the Saints. [March 10. 

Amongst these was a woman who was expecting her con- 
finement ; she hid in a wild place amongst the rocks, and 
there brought forth a child whom she named Codratus. 
He was brought up in the desert during his infancy, and 
growing to maturity, was joined by other young men 
desirous of a retired life. They were taken before the 
governor Jason, at Corinth, and were executed. 


(about a.d. 320.) 

[Roman Martyrology. Amongst the Greeks on March 9th ; the ancient 
Martyrology attributed to S. Jerome on March 9th, as also that of Bede, 
and most ancient Martyrologies. In the Roman, it has been transferred 
to the 10th, because the feast of S. Frances is a double. Authorities : 
The Ancient Latin and Greek Acts, the former a recension of more ancient 
Acts, made in 900 ; the latter of less antiquity, also the Armenian Acts. 
These saints are spoken of by S. Ephraem Synis, (d. 378), and by S. Gregory 
Nyssen, (d. 396), and S. Basil has a sermon on them. There is also a homily 
upon them extant by S. Gaudentius, B. of Brescia, (375.) The invention 
of their relics is mentioned by Sozomen, Hist. Eccl. lib. ix. c. 2.] 

When the Emperor Licinius had broken with his brother- 
in-law Constantine, he threw off the mask of toleration he 
had worn, and openly persecuted the Christians. When in 
Cappadocia, he published an edict commanding every 
Christian, on pain of death, to abandon his religion. 
Agricola, governor of Cappadocia and Lesser Armenia, 
resided at Sebaste, where S. Blaise, bishop of that city, was 
one of the first victims. In the army which was quartered 
there was the Thundering Legion. Its commanding officer 
was Lysias. Forty soldiers of that legion, natives of differ- 
ent countries, but all young, brave, and distinguished for 
their services, refused to sacrifice to the idols. When 
Agricola announced the imperial order to the army, these 
forty brave men advanced to his tribunal, and announced 

& * 

* * 

March io.] The Forty Martyrs of Sebaste. 205 

themselves to be Christians. They were at once cast into 
prison, where they raised the 90th (91st) psalm, in solemn 
chant, as the darkness closed upon them ; " Whoso dwell- 
eth under the defence of the Most High ; shall abide under 
the shadow of the Almighty." Our blessed Lord appearea 
to them, and bade them play the man, and win the crown 
of victory. Then Cyrio, one of the confessors, said to his 
brethren, " It has pleased God to unite us forty brethren in 
one communion of faith and warfare, let us not part in life 
or in death. Let us ask of God to send us forty to our 
crown together." 

Six or seven days after they were brought again before 
the governor, and were sentenced to be exposed naked 
through the bitter winter night on the ice of a pond ; but 
he ordered that a fire and warm bath should be prepared in 
a small building opening on the pond, and that any of the 
confessors who should take advantage of this should be 
regarded as having apostatized. 

Night closed in over the city. The shops were shut; 
the streets were still. Men went not willingly forth into 
the bitter cold. No friendly cloud hung in the sky it 
was a clear, starry night ; the constellations glowed in the 
intense frost. The citizens heaped up their fires, and 
gathered closer around them. The soldiers canvassed 
the constancy of the sufferers. There, on the frozen pool, 
stood the martyrs of Jesus Christ. From the open door of 
the hut, a bright cheerful gleam of fire-light shone ; reflect- 
ing itself on the clear dark ice. Some presently fell, and 
slept that sleep which ends only in death ; some walked 
hurriedly up and down, as if to keep in the heat of life ; 
some stood with their arms folded, almost lost in prayer; 
some consoled themselves and their brethren in the conflict. 
They prayed earnestly that He, who had in a special 
manner consecrated the number forty to Himself; who had 

4f * 

_ # 

206 Lives of the Saints. [March 10. 

bade Moses tarry in the mount forty days, who had fed 
Elijah with that food, in the strength whereof he went forty 
days and forty nights ; who had given Nineveh forty days 
for repentance ; they called on Him who had Himself 
fasted forty days, and had lain forty hours in death, not to 
fail them then. " Forty wrestlers," they said, " O Lord, we 
have entered the arena ; let forty victors receive the prize !" 

One of the soldiers guarding the pond was waiting by the 
fire, and slept And in his sleep he beheld this vision. 
He stood by the side of the pool, and saw the martyrs in 
their conflict. As he gazed on them, an angel came down 
from the sky with a golden crown in his hands. Its bright- 
ness was not of this world ; it was most bright, most 
beautiful. He brought another, and another, and another, 
till the dreamer perceived that he was charged with the 
everlasting diadems of the victorious martyrs. Nine- 
and-thirty crowns he brought, but he came not with the 

" What may this mean ?" he asked, as he awoke. As he 
was wondering, there was a stir without, and the soldiers 
brought in one of the confessors. He could endure it no 
more, he had come to the fire and the warm bath. He 
who had dreamed went forth. Still the cloudless night ; still 
the intense piercing blast from the range of the Caucasus. 
Most of the sufferers, on the frozen pool, had fallen where 
they stood. To them the bitterness of death was past; 
for they were in the last fatal sleep ; and their diadem, 
though not yet attained, were certain. Others were 
praying, "Forty wrestlers we have entered the arena; 
let forty victors receive the prize." 

O wonderful power of prayer in all ! but most wonderful 
virtue of intercession in Christ's martyrs ! At that moment 
a thought rushed into the mind of the soldier ; a thought so 
sweet, so cheering, that the bitter Armenian night seemed 

* * 

* * 

March io.] The Forty Martyrs of Sebaste. 207 

to him as pleasant as the breath of a May morning. " One 
has fallen from his crown ; I may attain to it." 

In half-an-hour he had roused the governor from Ms 
sleep, and had professed himself a Christian. In half-an- 
hour more he stood himself on the frozen pool, a confessor 
among the other confessors. And there was yet life in 
some of the sufferers to hail this new brother in arms in the 
spiritual warfare. He, too, contending to the end, received 
the prize ; the virtue of Baptism, as the Church has ever 
taught, being supplied to him in this case by the grace of 
that martyrdom whereof he was accounted worthy. 

Morning broke at last, and a few still lived, amongst 
others Melithon, the youngest of the soldiers. Agricola 
ordered the legs and arms of those who survived to be 
broken, and as the order was carried into execution, they 
sang faintly with their frozen lips, " Our soul hath escaped 
out of the snare of the fowler ; the snare is broken, and we 
are delivered." The mother of Melithon was present. She 
raised him in her arms, and laid him with the other bodies 
in the wagon which was to convey them to a fire in which 
they were all to be consumed. Melithon still lived, and 
smiled faintly upon her. " Oh, son of my bosom, how glad 
am I to see thee offer to Christ the last remains of thy life. 
Blessed is the womb that bare thee, and the paps that thou 
hast sucked !" And she followed the tumbril to the fire into 
which her yet breathing son was cast, together with the 
frozen bodies of his comrades. 

A few fragments still remain of the church, which in after 
years was raised on the scene of the martyrdom. The names 
of these martyrs were Quirio or Cyrio, Candidus, Domnus, 
Melitho, Domitian, Eunoicus, Sisinius, Heraclius, Alex- 
ander, John, Claudius, Athanasius, Valens, Helianus, 
Ecditius, Acacius, Vivianus, Helias, Theodulus, Cyrillus, 
Flavius, Severian, Valerius, Chudio, Sacerdo Priscus, 

* * 

* $1 

208 Lives of the Saints. [March . 

Eutychius, Smaragdus, Philoctimo, Aetius, Nicolas, Lysim- 
achus, Theophilus, Xantheas, Augias, Leontius, Hesychius, 
Caius and Gorgo. 

(about a.d. 335.) 

[Roman Martyrology. Authorities : Eusebius, Theodoret Socrates.] 

S. Macarius was created bishop of Jerusalem in the year 
314. He was present at the great council of Nicasa, against 
Arius, whom he always opposed from the beginning of his 
heretical teaching. The historian Socrates has preserved 
for us a letter written to him by the Emperor Constantine. 
There was another Macarius, bishop of the same see, in the 
reign of the Emperor Justinian, who was driven from his 
see for defending the heresy of the Origenists ; but having 
recanted, was restored. 

(6th cent.) 

[Aberdeen Breviary. Authority : David Camerarius, Thomas Demp- 
ster, and the Lections in the Breviary.] 

Kessog or Makkessog, as he is otherwise called, an 
Irish prince by birth, and an itinerary bishop in the pro- 
vince of Boyne, laboured for the spread of the Gospel in 
Scotland. He is said to have settled in Lennox; and 
Thomas Dempster says he was represented in art dressed 
as a soldier with a bow in his hand and a quiver at his 

* * 

* * 

March io.] , Droctoveus. 209 

(about a.d. 576.) 

[Roman and Gallican Martyrologies. Usuardus, and Maurolycus. 
Authority : An ancient life written after the destruction of the original life 
by the Danes when they burnt the monastery of S. Germain.] 

S. Droctoveus, vulgarly called in France S. Drotte', 
was born in the diocese of Autun, in Burgundy. In his 
youth he was placed with S. Germain, in the abbey of S. 
Symphorian, at Autun, of which he was abbot. He was 
formed there upon the most perfect model of virtue. 
S. Germain having been elevated to the bishopric of Paris, 
wished to continue to live as a monk. Wherefore he with- 
drew his disciple Uroctoveus from the abbey of S. Sym- 
phorian, and brought him to Paris. King Childebert having 
built a church in which to place the stole of S. Vincent, 
which he had carried back with him from Saragossa in the 
year 542, on his return from his Spanish expedition, and 
chosen this church as his place of sepulture, he was buried 
there in 558, and S. Germain dedicated the church on the 
same day as his burial, under the title SS. Cross and 
Vincent. He established a monastery adjoining it, over 
which he set S. Droctoveus, with whose virtues he was well 
acquainted. Droctoveus governed the monastery for twenty 
years, and established its fame. The monks afterwards 
embraced the rule of S. Benedict, and the house and 
church took the name of S. Germain after the body of that 
prelate had been transferred to it 

vol.. hi. 14 

# * 

2io Lives of the Saints. [March 10. 

(8th cent.) 

[Belgian Martyrology of Molanus, Aberdeen Breviary, and Anglican 
Martyrology. Authority : A life founded on notices in the Martyrologies 
and popular tradition, by John Gilleman, about 1480.] 

The Blessed Hymelin, priest and confessor, was a near 
relative of S. Rumbold, and an Irishman. Of his early life 
nothing is known. He undertook a pilgrimage to Rome, 
and on his return was attacked by a virulent fever at 
Vissenaeken, near Tirlemont, in Brabant He sank ex- 
hausted on a bank, and a girl noticed his haggard looks 
and evident sickness as she was returning from the well 
with her pitcher. Hymelin extended his hands to her, and 
implored her to give him a draught of water, but she had 
received strict orders from her master, the curate of the 
place, not to let any one touch the pitcher, as the plague 
was then raging, and he feared infection. She therefore 
reluctantly refused the draught 

" I am very sick, and perhaps dying," said the Irish 
pilgrim ; " I pray you deny me not this little gift." 

" My good friend," answered the maid, " I would gladly 
refresh you, were it not that I am under orders. But 
come home to my master, and he will give you food and 
drink of the very best." " I cannot stir from this place, I 
am far too ill," said Hymelin ; " I pray you let me taste the 
cool water. I am consumed with thirst" She looked at 
the man's ghastly countenance with fiery spots on the 
cheek, and was unable to refuse any longer, so she held her 
pitcher to his lips; he drank, thanked her, and she went 
to her master with the vessel The curate took the pitcher, 
set it to his lips, and drawing it suddenly away, exclaimed, 
" Thou hast brought me wine, not water !" And it was so. 

* * 



March 10.] 

.S. Hymelin. 


The water had been convened into wine. Then she told 
him all that she had done; and he ran and brought the 
wayfarer to his house, and laid him on his bed, and nursed 
him till he died. And as the soul of Hymelin fled, the 
chimes of the church began to play sweetly in the air, 
though no man touched the bells. Hymelin was buried in 
the parish church of Vissenaeken, where his body still 
remains, and every year, on March ioth, attracts a large 
concourse of pilgrims. 

Symbolic car-dug at the Abbey of S. Denis 



* ^ 

212 Lives of the Saints. [March . 

March 11. 

S. Gordo, Af. at tours. 

S. Alberta, y.M. at Agen, a.d. a86. 

SS. Trophimus and Thalus, AfAf. at Laodicea, eire. a.d. 306. 

S. Vincent, Ab., Af. at Leon, in Spain, circ. a.d. jjj. 

S. Constantine, K., Monk and M., in Scotland, circ. a.d. J76. 

S. Sophronius, Pair. of Jerusalem, a.d. 638. 

S. Vioilius, B.Af. of Auxerre, a.d. 689. 

S. Vindician, B. of Cambrai and Arras, circ. a.d. <ji2. 

S. Euthymius, B.M. at Sardis, circ. a.d. 827. 

S. Anous of Keld, B. and Ab. in Ireland, circ. a.d. 834. 

S. Eulooius, P.M. at Cordova, a.d. 859. 

S. Peter the Spaniard, H. at Babuto, in the Campagna of Rome, 

S. Auria, V. in Spain, circ. a.d. iioo. 

(date unknown.) 

[Gallican Martyrology. Authority : An account of the Translation of 
his relics by an eye-witness in 847, published by Bollandus.l 

|T TOURS, on this day is celebrated the festival 
of S. Gorgo the martyr, whose body, found at 
Rome, on the Appian way, near that of S. 
Cecilia, was transported to the great monastery 
of Tours in 847, and on the way worked many miracles 
of healing. The Roman Martyrology names on the same 
day another Gorgo, martyr at Antioch, of whom nothing 
further is known. 

(a.d. 286.) 

[Venerated at Agen. Authority : The Agen Breviary.] 

Alberta, the sister of S. Faith in blood and religion, and 
one of the first martyrs of the Agenois, earned the double 



March ii.] ,5". Vincent. 213 

crown of virginity and martyrdom. Her relics, long pre- 
served at Pe'rigueux with those of S. Phebadas, were trans- 
lated to the church of Benerque, on the Arie'ge, where they 
are preserved to this day. 


(ABOUT A.D. 555.) 

[Benedictine Martyrology, and that of Leon, and other Spanish 
churches. Tamayus Salazar complains, "The Acts of S. Vincent are 
shut up in the Spanish Benedictine Libraries, and are never shown by the 
most reverend fathers, possibly lest they should become too common, con- 
tent rather that they should lie in bags and boxes, buried in dust and cob- 
webs, rather than exposed for the public benefit." We have, accordingly, 
in Bollandus, only a compendium of the Acts by the historian, Antonio 
Yepes, gathered from MSS., at Leon, and the lections of the monastic 
breviary of Coimbra.] 

When the Vandals overran Spain, in company with the 
Suevi and the Alani, the Suevi settled down in Gallicia and 
part of Portugal, whilst the Vandals crossed into North 
Africa. They were Arians, and their king, Hermanrik, and 
his son, Richild, harrassed the Catholics in every way pos- 
sible, destroying or seizing on their churches. The Arians 
drew Vincent, abbot of S. Claudius, before the prince, 
charging him with contempt of the laws made against the 
Catholics. He boldly proclaimed the divinity of Jesus 
Christ before the king, and was ordered to be beaten and 
thrown into prison. Next day he was again brought before 
the king, and was condemned to death. The executioner 
struck at him with his sword, and clave his skull. His 
martyrdom was followed by that of the prior, Ramirus, and 
twelve of the monks of his house. 

Relics : the body of S. Vincent in the cathedral of Oviedo. 
The body of S. Ramirus was translated, April, 26th, 1596, 
to the monastery of S. Claudius, at Leon. 

* * 


214 Lives of the Saints. [March h. 


(ABOUT A.D. 576.) 

[Aberdeen Breviary, Cologne and German Martyrologies. Not to be 
confused with Constantine, the successor of king Arthur, nor with Con- 
stantine, the Scottish king, who resigned his throne to live as a monk at S. 
Andrews, in 943. Authority : The Aberdeen Breviary, John Fordun, 
John of Tynemouth, and mention in the Life of S. David.] 

Constantine, son of Padarn, king of Cornwall, was 
married to the daughter of the king of Brittany, but had 
the misfortune to lose his wife by death shortly after. He 
was so deeply attached to her, that he could find no rest in 
his loneliness. Therefore, resigning his crown, and bidding 
farewell to his subjects, he crossed over into Ireland, and 
entered a monastery, without declaring who he was, and 
whence he came. He was ordered to grind the corn for 
the brothers ; and for seven years he filled this situation. 
But one day as he sat in the granary, working the rude stone 
quern with his hands, and thinking himself alone, he laughed, 
and said, "Is this then, king Constantine of Cornwall, who 
wore helm and bore shield, who drudges thus at a hand' 
mill ? It is the same, and it is not the same." 

Now it happened that one of the brethren was in the 
granary and heard this, therefore he stole off unperceived 
to the abbot, and told him who his miller was. Then the 
abbot called the others, and all the brethren hasted to the 
mill, and drew Constantine therefrom, and made him one of 
themselves, instructed him in letters; and finally, by the 
grace of God, he was ordained priest. And after that, he 
bade them all farewell, and crossed over into Scotland, 
and was with S. Columba and S. Kentigern, who sent him 
to preach the Word in Galloway. And afterwards he was 
made abbot, but of what monastery is not specified, though 
there can be little doubt it was Glasgow. Now, when he 


March ii.] .5VS - . Sophronius & Vindician. 215 

was very old, he went a mission into Kintyre, where he was 
assailed by the heathen, who knocked him down and cut 
off his right arm. Having called his brethren about him, 
and blessed them, he gently bled to death. He is regarded 
as the first martyr of Scotland. 

(a.d. 638.) 

[Greek Menologium and Menaea on this day, also the Roman Martyr- 
ology. Authorities : His Life collected from various sources, by Bollan- 
dus, and an epitome of his life in the Greek Menaea.] 

Sophronius, surnamed the Sophist, was the son of pious 
parents at Damascus. His learning and virtue caused his 
election to the patriarchal throne of Jerusalem. On the 
invasion and capture of Jerusalem, by Chosroes, king of 
Persia, Sophronius fled to his friend, S. John the Almsgiver, 
(Jan. 23rd,) patriarch of Alexandria, who supported him till 
he was able to return to his see. He held a synod at Jeru- 
salem, against the Monothelites, and drew up a synodal 
letter on that occasion, which was sent to pope John IV. 


(ABOUT A.D. 712.) 
[Arras Martyrology. Authority : A Life by Balderic, bishop of Noyon.] 

This saint was a disciple of S. Eligius. He was born at 
Bulcourt, in Bapaume, about the year 620. He spent many 
years in seclusion on Mont S. Eloi, where S. Eligius lived 
with ten others, in the practice of great austerities. He 
was nominated by S. Aubert, bishop of Arras, his vicar- 

H jj, 

* ' * 

216 Lives of tlie Saints. March M . 

general. In 675, on the death of S. Aubert, he was elected 
bishop of Cambrai and Arras. He completed, in 691, the 
abbey of S. Waast, begun by his predecessor, dedicated the 
church of the monastery of Elnone, and that of the abbey 
of Hasnon. S. Leger, bishop of Autun, having been killed 
by Ebroin, mayor of the palace, and as the king, Thierry 
III., was suspected of having connived at the deed, several 
bishops deemed it expedient to remonstrate with the king, 
through some one of authority and renown for his sanctity. 
Vindician was chosen for this dangerous task, and he exe- 
cuted the commission with such prudence and firmness, that 
he attracted the admiration of the court, and succeeded in 
bringing the king to repentance. On his return to his 
diocese, he built the monastery of Honcourt ; and at last, 
wearied with the cares of his diocese, he laid them aside, 
and retired, to be alone with God, and prepare for his 
passage, into a hermitage on Mont S. Eloi, and died at the 
age of ninety-two. His relics are preserved in the cathedral 
of Arras. 


(ABOUT A.D. 827.) 

[Roman Martyrology. By the Greeks on Dec. nth. Authorities: The 
Greek Menaea, and the Acts of the second council of Nicaea, also the 
Chronography of Leo the Grammarian, Cedrenus, Zonaras, &c] 

S. Euthymius, bishop of Sardis, was one of the most 
zealous defenders of images against the Iconoclastic em- 
perors. He flourished under the empress Irene, and her 
son, Constantine VI., as abbot, but was then created bishop, 
and took a prominent part in the second council of Nicaea. 
Under the emperor Nicephorus he was sent into exile, to- 
gether with other bishops, to Patalarea, for having admitted 
a virgin to the religious life. For the next nine-and-twenty 

* . 4 

* -* 


March ii.] ,5". Angus of Keld. 217 

years he did not see his diocese. When Leo the Armenian 
assumed the purple, he recalled Euthymius, but before 
restoring him to his see, he demanded of him whether he 
venerated images. The saint boldly replied, " O emperor, 
it belongs not to thee to meddle with the affairs of the 
Church. To thee is given the care of the State and the 
government of the army. Attend to them, and suffer the 
Church to remain faithful." This answer so angered Leo, 
that he ordered him to be banished to Assos. On the death 
of Leo by assassination, his successor, Michael the Stam- 
merer, recalled Euthymius, and again demanded whether he 
reverenced sacred images. And when Euthymius protested 
that he reverenced whatever represented or recalled Christ, 
the tyrant banished him to Acrita, where he was cast into 
a noisome dungeon, and afterwards, by the emperor's 
orders, was brought out and stretched on the ground, with 
his hands and feet attached to posts, at the utmost disten- 
tion possible, and then was cut and lashed with cow-hide 
scourges, till he died. 


(ABOUT A.D. 824.) 
[Irish Martyrology. Authority : Colgan.] 

Angus, surnamed Kel-Dhu, a man of great love and 
fervour in the service of God, was born in Ireland in 
the eighth century, of the race of the Dalrhidians, 
kings of Ulster. In his youth, renouncing the pomp 
and vanities of the world and all earthly pretensions, 
he chose Christ for his inheritance, and entered religion in 
the famous monastery of Cluain-Edneach, in East Meath, 
under the holy abbot Malathgen. There he became such a 
proficient in virtue and learning that he was thought to 



% _ * 

218 Lives of the Saints. [March . 

excel all others in Ireland. He is said to have sung a 
hundred and fifty psalms every day, fifty of which he recited 
standing up to his neck in water, in winter and summer ; and 
three hundred times a day he adored God on his bended 
knees. Finding that his sanctity attracted attention, he 
privately withdrew from his monastery, and disguising him- 
self, took refuge in that of Tamlacht, three miles from 
Dublin, where he was received as an outside novice by the 
abbot Moelruan, and for seven years was given the meanest 
drudgery of the monastery. At length his great merit was 
discovered, and his name having been found out, the abbot 
apologised to him for having set him such degrading tasks, 
and brought him into the brotherhood. S. Angus became 
afterwards abbot of Desert-Aenguis and Cluain-Edneach, 
where he was raised to the office of bishop, the abbots in 
the ancient Irish Church being very generally bishops as 
well, but without territorial jurisdiction. 

S. Angus is regarded as one of the most famous writers 
of Ireland. He composed a metrical martyrology, and five 
books of lives of the saints of Ireland, together with other 

(a.d. 859.) 

[Roman Martyrology. Authority : An account of his life and martyr- 
dom by his friend Alvar.] 

Eulogius belonged to one of the principal families of 
Cordova, then in the hands of the Moors, who had consti- 
tuted it their capital. These Mohammedans, who had 
ruined the Gothic kingdom in Spain, had not succeeded in 
trampling out Christianity. They did, indeed, suffer Chris- 
tians to exercise their religion, and for this indulgence they 
obliged them to pay a heavy tax, but Christians were strictly 


* * 

March iij S. EulogillS. 219 

forbidden, on pain of death, to make converts. Eulogius 
had a fellow scholar at Chute-Clar, a monastery on the 
north-west of Cordova, named Alvar, to whom he was 
warmly attached, and who became afterwards his biographer. 
On reaching his maturity, Eulogius taught letters in Cordova, 
and was ordained priest In the year 850, the Moors began 
to persecute the Christians, and the metropolitan bishop of 
Andalusia, Reccafred, instead of defending his flock against 
the wolves, basely taking the part of the king, Abderahman, 
arrested all the clergy of Cordova, together with their bishop, 
and threw them into prison. S. Eulogius, from his dungeon, 
wrote an exhortation to two virgins, named Flora and Mary, 
exhorting them to stand fast in the faith. " They threaten 
to sell you as slaves, and dishonour you, my daughters, but 
know that whatever infamy they may heap upon you, they 
cannot defile the virginal purity of your souls." But these 
holy maidens were spared this terrible humiliation, being 
executed with the sword. 1 S. Eulogius and the other pri- 
soners heard with joy of their triumph, and celebrated a 
mass of thanksgiving to God in their dungeon. 

Six days after, S. Eulogius and the other priests were re- 
leased ; and he at once composed a metrical account of the 
passion of the virgins Flora and Mary. 

Under Mohammed, the successor of Abderahman, the 
persecution became still more cruel, and S. Eulogius was 
constantly employed in encouraging timorous Christians, 
who, to escape death, or the irksome disabilities and petty 
tyranny to which they were subjected, were prepared to 
desert Christ 

The number of martyrs at this time was very great, and 

1 It is not known what the occasion of the persecution was, and why the metro- 
politan sided against the bishop of Cordova and his clergy, but there is every pro- 
bability that it was because they had attempted the conversion of some of the Moors ; 
and Reccafred, as a moderate man, preferred quiet and toleration to missionary 
efforts and persecution. 


220 Lives of the Saints. [March . 

Eulogius collected all the acts of their passion into a history, 
in three books, entitled " The Memorial," which still exists. 
He then composed an " Apology " against those who dis- 
puted their title, as martyrs, because, firstly, they wrought no 
miracles like the ancient martyrs ; secondly, they had offered 
themselves to death ; thirdly, they had died by a stroke of 
the sword instead of through lingering torture; fourthly, they 
had not been killed by idolators, but by Mohammedans, 
who worshipped the One true God. 

After the death of the archbishop of Toledo, the clergy 
and people of that city cast their eyes on Eulogius, as his 
successor. But God was about to crown him with martyr- 
dom. There was in Cordova a girl named Leocritia, who 
had been converted from Mohammedanism to Christianity. 
For a Moslem to profess the religion of Christ was death. 
To save her, Eulogius hid her in the house of his sister, 
Annulona, and when the officers of justice were in pursuit 
of her, he conveyed her from one Christian house to an- 
other. But this could not last long. The place of her 
concealment was discovered, and Leocritia was taken, and 
Eulogius, for having secreted her, was also confined. He 
was ordered to execution, and was decapitated on Saturday, 
March nth, 859, and Leocritia suffered the following Wed- 
nesday, and was buried in the church of S. Genes, at 
Cordova. Because March nth usually falls in Lent, the 
Church of Cordova transfers the feast of S. Eulogius to June 
1 st, the day of the first translation of his body, and observes 
it with an Octave. The body was afterwards carried to 
Oviedo, together with that of S. Leocritia, on Jan. 19th, 
883, and a third translation took place to Camarasanta, in 
1300. For Flora and Mary, see November 24. 

* * 

March no S. Peter the Spaniard. 221 

(date uncertain.) 

[Roman Martyrology. Authorities: A Life from MS. of Babuco, 
published by Bollandus.] 

S. Peter was the son of noble parents in Spain, and was 
brought up in the profession of arms. In the army he dis- 
tinguished himself as much by his zeal for souls and purity 
of life, as by his courage. His parents having insisted on 
his marriage, he yielded with great repugnance, for his heart 
was drawn elsewhere, and he desired to live a virgin life to 
his dear master Jesus. The marriage ceremony took place, 
and when the banquet was over, he retired to the bridal 
chamber, where he saw the fair young girl who had giveD 
him her hand lying asleep on the bed. She looked so 
pure and innocent in her slumber, that he gazed on her 
with reverence, and kneeling at her feet, prayed long and 
earnestly ; and then stealing away, left the house, and fled 
the country. Taking his passage on a boat for Italy, he 
reached the eternal city, and going forth into the Campagna, 
found a place suitable for a cell, and there buried himself 
from the world. 

* ^ 



Lives of the Saints. 

[March u. 


March 12. 

SS. Peter, Gorgonius, Dorotheus, Maxima, and Others, MM. 

at Nicomedia, A.D. 302. 
S. Paul of Leon, B.C. in Brittany, a.d. 573. 
S. Gregory the Great, Pope, D., a.d. 604. 
S. Peter, Deacon ofS. Gregory, at Rome, a.d. 605. 
S. Muran, Ab. of Fathinis, in Ireland, circ. a.d. 650. 
S. Theophanes, Ab. C, at Constantinople, a.d. 820. 
S. Alphege the Bald, B. of Winchester, a.d. 951. See September u 
S. Bernard, B.C. at Capua, a.d. nog. 
S. Fina, V. in Tuscany, a.d. 1253. 


(a.d. 302.) 

[Usuardus, those of SS. Jerome, Bede, &c., the Irish Martyrology of 
Tamlach, and the Roman Martyrology. Authorities : Eusebius, lib. viii. 
c. 6, and the notices in the Martyrologies.] 

[HE Emperor Diocletian having discovered that 
Peter, one of his officers of the bed-chamber, 
was a Christian, ordered him to be tortured. 
Then Gorgonius and Dorotheus, two other 
officers, filled with indignation, exclaimed, "Why, Sire, 
dost thou thus torment Peter for what we all profess in our 
hearts ?" The emperor at once ordered them to execution, 
together with Migdo, a priest, and many -other Christians of 
Nicomedia. Eusebius says that Peter was scourged till his 
bones were laid bare, and that then vinegar and salt was 
poured over the wounds; and as he bore this without 
showing anguish, Diocletian ordered him to be broiled on a 
gridiron slowly, and his flesh, as it roasted, to be taken off 
slowly, so as to protract his torments. Gorgonius and 
Dorotheus, after having been tortured, were hung. 


* * 

March no ^S. Paul of Leon. 223 


(A.D. 573.) 

[Venerated in Brittany, in the Churches of Leon, Nantes, &c and intro- 
duced into later Martyrologies. Authority : A life written by Worwonock, 
monk of Landevenec, in the 9th cent, but rewritten, or added to, in the 
following century by an anonymous monk of the abbey of Feury.] 

Paul, son of a Welsh prince, was a disciple of S. Iltut, 
along with S. Samson and Gildas. At the age of sixteen he 
left his master, and retired across the sea into a solitary 
place among his heathery moors, where he erected an 
oratory and a cell. In course of time, other young men, 
seeking like himself a better country than earth, congre- 
gated about him, and he became their superior. He re- 
ceived priest's orders along with twelve of his companions. 
Near his congregation lived a prince named Mark, who 
invited him to come into his territory, and instruct his 
people in the Word of God. He accordingly went with 
his twelve priests as desired, and was well received by the 
king. After he had spent some time in that country, he 
felt a desire to go into solitude once more. Therefore 
he went before the king and asked him to let him depart, 
and to give him a bell ; " For at that time," says the 
chronicler, " it was customary for kings to have seven bells 
rung before they sat down to meat." Mark, however, 
refused to give him the bell, being vexed that Paul should 
leave him. So the holy man went his way without it. And 
before he took boat to depart, he visited his sister, who 
lived in solitude with some other holy women on the shore 
of Penzance Bay. And when all was ready for his de- 
parture, and the boat was on the shore, he said, " Sister, 
I must depart." Then she wept, and entreated him to 
tarry four days. And as he saw her tears, he consented to 
remain three days. Then, when he was about to depart, 

4f- * 

* * 

224 Lives of the Saints. [March ia. 

she said, " I know, my brother, that thou art powerful with 
God. Therefore I pray thee grant me my request." And 
he said, "Say on." Then she said, "This land is being 
encroached on by the sea. Pray to the Lord that the 
waves may be restrained as by a bridle." 

" Ah, my sister ! " exclaimed the holy man, " thou hast 
asked what is beyond my strength. But let us together 
beseech the Lord to be gracious, and grant thee thy desire." 
So they both kneeled down and prayed. Then the sea 
began to retreat, and leave smooth yellow sands, where all 
had been blue water before. So the nuns hasted and ran 
and told the brother and sister, and they rose, and went 
down to the sea, and stepped on the newly recovered land. 
And now follows a part of the legend which has evidently 
sprung up among the people with reference to a reef of 
rocks fringing the shore. The story goes on to tell that 
the sister gathered pebbles and laid them round the land 
laid bare, and strewed them down the road she and her 
brother had taken. And lo ! these peebles grew into a 
ridge of rock called to this day the road of S. Paul. 

Then Paul stepped into his boat, followed by his disciples, 
and they rowed to the island of Ouessant, and the port 
where they disembarked was called Portus-boum, and at the 
present day is Paimbceuf. Then Paul tarried there many 
years till God called him to work again. And he took 
boat and went ashore and travelled through Brittany, till 
he came to Count Withur, a good man and lord of the 
country under king Childebert. And Paul settled in the 
island of Batz, which was off the coast, near the small town 
encompassed with mud walls, which has since gone 
by his name. And there he found wild bees in a hollow 
tree, and they were swarming, so he gathered the swarm 
and set them in a hive, and taught the people how to get 
honey. He also found a wild sow with its litter, and 


* * 

March i2.] S. Paul of Leon. 225 

patted her gently, and she became tame. Her descendants 
remained at Leon for many generations, and were regarded 
as royal beasts. Probably this legend points to S. Paul 
having taught the people to keep pigs. 

One day Paul was with the count Withur, when a 
fisherman brought the count a bell he had picked up on the 
shore ; Withur gave it to S. Paul, who smiled and said that 
though king Mark had refused him a bell, yet now God had 
sent him one, after many years of waiting and wishing for it 

" That bell," says the historian, " has received from the 
people a special name, on account of its colour and shape, 
for it is green and oblong." S. Paul erected a church at 
Leon, and was appointed its first bishop. Withur could 
only obtain his consecration by having recourse to an 
artifice, for he knew that Paul could not be persuaded to 
accept the dignity. He gave him a letter to king Childe- 
bert, and entreated him to take it in person to the king, as 
it contained matter of urgent importance. Paul, full of 
simplicity, and eager to oblige his friend, hasted to court 
And when the king broke the seal and opened the letter, he 
read that Withur had sent Paul to be ordained bishop, and 
invested with the see of Leon. Then Childebert caught a 
staff from a prelate who stood by him, and said, " Receive 
the pastoral dignity, to discharge thy office for the good of 
many souls," and he called three bishops to him to ordain 
Paul. Then the holy man wept, and implored the king to 
desist but Childebert turned a deaf ear to his entreaties, 
and had him consecrated, and then sent him back to Le'on, 
where he was received with the liveliest demonstrations of 
joy. He built a monastery on the isle of Batz, and filled it 
with monks, and thither he retired whenever he could 
escape from the business of his see. He lived to a very 
advanced age, and laying aside his episcopal government, 
ordained three of his disciples in succession to it, and 

vol. hi. 15 

226 Lives of the Saints. [March 12. 

survived two of them. His body reposed in his cathedral 
church, but his relics were dispersed by the Huguenots in 
the religious wars of the 16th century. 

In art he is represented either (1) with a bell, or (2) with 
a cruse of water and a loaf of bread, as he lived on nothing 
else, or (3) driving a dragon into the sea, to signify that he 
expelled the Druidical superstition out of Brittany. 


(a.d. 604.) 

[Roman and all other Western Martyrologies ; by the Greeks on March 
nth. Authorities : A life by Paulus Diaconus, another by Joannes 
Diaconus, 9th cent. , the writings of S. Gregory, &c The following is in 
part condensed from the elegant life of S. Gregory by the Count de 
Montalembert, in his Monks of the West.] 

S. Gregory the Great will be an everlasting honour to 
the Benedictine Order and to the Papacy. By his genius, 
but especially by the charm and ascendancy of his virtue, 
he was destined to organise the temporal power of the 
popes, to develop and regulate their spiritual sovereignty, 
to found their paternal supremacy over the new-born crowns 
and races which were to become the great nations of the 
future, and to be called France, Spain, and England. It 
was he indeed, who inaugurated the middle ages, modern 
society, and Christian civilisation. 

Issued from one of the most illustrious races of ancient 
Rome, the son of a rich senator, and descendant of Pope 
Felix III., of the Anician family, Gregory was early called to 
fill a dignified place, which, in the midst of the Rome of that 
day, the vassal of Byzantium, and subject to the ceaseless in- 

*- .j, 

S. GREGORY THE GREAT. After Cahier. 

March, p. 226.] 

[March 12. 

March n.] S. Gregory the Great. 227 

suits of the Barbarians, retained some shadow of ancient 
Roman grandeur. He was praetor of Rome during the first 
invasion of the Lombards. In the exercise of this office he 
gained the hearts of the Romans, while habituating himself 
to the management of public business, and while acquiring a 
taste for luxury and display of earthly grandeur, in which he 
still believed he might serve God without reproach. But 
God required him elsewhere. Gregory hesitated long, 
inspired by the divine breath to seek religion, but was re- 
tained, led back and fascinated to the world, by the attrac- 
tions and habits of secular life. At last he yielded to the 
influence of his intimate and close relations with the 
disciples of S. Benedict in Monte Cassino, and obeying 
the grace that enlightened him, he abruptly broke 
every tie, devoted his wealth to the endowment of 
six new monasteries in Sicily, and established in his 
own palace in Rome, upon the Ccelian hill, a seventh, 
dedicated to S. Andrew, into which he introduced the 
Benedictine rule, and where he himself became a monk. 
He sold all that remained of his patrimony, to distribute 
it to the poor ; and Rome, which had seen the young and 
wealthy patrician traverse its streets in robes of silk covered 
with jewels, saw him now, in 575, with admiration, clothed 
like a beggar, serving, in his own person the beggars lodged 
in the hospital which he had built at the gate of his paternal 
house, now changed into a monastery. 

Once a monk, he would be nothing less than a model of 
monks, and practised with the utmost rigour all the austeri- 
ties sanctioned by the rule, applying himself specially at the 
same time to the study of the Holy Scriptures. He ate 
only pulse, which his mother, who had become a nun since 
her widowhood, sent him, already soaked, in a silver 
porringer. This porringer was the only remnant of his 
ancient splendour, and did not long remain in his hands, 

# * 

* * 

228 Lives of the Saints. [March n. 

for one day a shipwrecked sailor came several times to beg 
from him while he was writing in his cell, and finding no 
money in his purse, the Saint gave him that relic of his 
former wealth. 

Continually engaged in prayer, reading, writing, or dic- 
tation, he persisted in pushing the severity of his fasts 
to such an extent, that his health succumbed. He fell so 
often into fainting fits, that more than once he would have 
sunk under them had not his brethren supported him with 
more substantial food. In consequence of having attempted 
to do more than others, he was soon obliged to relinquish 
the most ordinary fasts, which everybody observed. He 
was in despair at not being able to fast even on Easter eve, a 
day on which even the little children abstain, says his bio- 
grapher. He remained weak and sickly all his life, and when 
he left his monastery, it was with health irreparably ruined. 

Pope Benedict I. drew him first from the cloister in 577, 
to raise him to the dignity of one of the seven cardinal 
deacons, who presided over the seven principal divisions oi 
Rome. Pelagius II., successor to Benedict I., chose 
S. Gregory to head an embassy to Constantinople to con- 
gratulate the Emperor Tiberius on his accession in a.d. 578. 
During his stay at the imperial court, S. Gregory refused to 
have any intercourse with the patriarch Eutychius, who had 
published an heretical treatise on the nature of the 
resurrection body. On his death-bed, however, Eutychius 
acknowledged his former errors. After six years of this 
honourable and laborious exile, he returned to Rome, and 
regained the shelter of his monastery of S. Andrea, the 
monks of which elected him abbot soon after his return. 
He enjoyed there for some time longer the delights of the 
life he had chosen. Tenderly cherished by his brethren, he 
took a paternal share in their trials and spiritual crosses, 
provided for their temporary and spiritual necessities, and 



March .] S. Gregory the Great. 229 

specially rejoiced in the holy deaths of several among them. 
He has related the details of these in his " Dialogues," and 
seems to breathe in them the perfume of heaven. 

The tender solicitude he bore to souls was on the point 
of separating him from his dear monastery and from Rome. 
Seeing one day exhibited in the market some poor pagan 
children, of extraordinary beauty and fairness, who were 
said to be of the country of the Angles, " Not Angles," 
said he, "but Angels." Then hastening to the pope, he 
begged him to send missionaries into that great island of 
Britain, where the pagans sold such slaves ; failing others, 
he offered himself for this work, surprised the pontiff into 
consent, and prepared instantly for his departure. But 
when the Romans understood his intention, the love with 
which they had formerly regarded him was re-awakened. 
They surrounded the pope as he went to S. Peter's, and 
intreated him to recall Gregory. The astonished pope 
yielded to the popular voice. He sent messengers after 
Gregory, who overtook him at three days' journey from 
Rome; and led him back forcibly to his monastery. It 
was not as a missionary, but as a pope, that he was to win 
England to the Church. 

In 590, Pelagius II. died of the plague, which then 
depopulated Rome. Gregory was immediately elected 
pope by the unanimous voice of the senate, the people, and 
the clergy. It was in vain that he refused, and appealed to 
the emperor Maurice not to confirm his election. The 
Romans intercepted his letter ; the imperial confirmation 
arrived. Then he disguised himself, and fleeing from Rome 
to seek some unknown retreat, wandered three days in the 
woods. He was followed, discovered, and a second time led 
back to Rome, but this time to reign there. He bowed his 
head, weeping, under the yoke imposed upon him by the 
Divine will and the unanimity of his fellow-citizens. 


*_ . * 

230 Lives of the Saints. [March u. 

It was during the interval between his election and the 
imperial confirmation that, filled with a paternal anxiety for 
the safety of the people, he organized a great procession, 
with solemn litanies, to seek to avert the wrath of Almighty 
God. It proceeded from seven stations in the city, in 
as many divisions, to the Church of S. Maria-Maggiore. 
The first company consisted of the secular clergy, the second 
of the abbots and their monks, the third of the abbesses 
and their nuns, the fourth of children, the fifth of laymen, 
the sixth of widows, and the seventh of matrons : each 
band was led by the priests of the quarter of the city from 
which it came. While the procession lasted, eighty persons 
in it died of the plague ; yet S. Gregory persevered, and the 
prayers of the city were heard. This was the origin of the 
"Greater Litanies," which were afterwards held on S. 
Mark's Day, and which acquired the popular name of 
" The Black Crosses" from the penitential hue of the vest- 
ments and banners used therein. While the procession 
defiled before Gregory, he saw an angel appear upon the 
summit of the Mole of Hadrian, putting back his sword into 
its sheath, the image of which, standing upon the colossal 
mausoleum, has given its name to the castle of S. Angelo, 
and perpetuated to our day the recollection of S. Gregory's 

The supreme pontificate, perhaps, never fell upon a soul 
more disturbed and afflicted than that of this monk, who 
saw himself thus condemned to exchange the peace of the 
cloister for the cares of the government of the Church, and 
the special defence of the interests of Italy. Not only then, 
but during all his life, he did not cease to lament his fate. 
" I have lost," he wrote to the sister of the emperor, " the 
profound joys of repose. I seem to have been elevated in 
external things, but in spiritual I have fallen." To the 
patrician Narses : " I am so overcome with melancholy, 

* $ 

* .* 

March i2.) 6". Gregory tJie Great. 231 

that I can scarcely speak. I cannot cease considering the 
height of tranquillity from which I have fallen, and the height 
of embarrassment I have ascended." To his friend Leander : 
" I am so beaten by the waves of this world, that I despair 
of being able to guide to port this rotten old vessel with 
which God has charged me. I weep when I recall the 
peaceful shore which I have left, and sigh in perceiving afar 
what I now cannot attain." 

The poor monk who showed so much despair when he 
was thrown into the political whirlpool by the unanimous 
voice of the Romans, could yet perceive with a bold and 
clear glance the dangers of the situation, and adopt a line of 
conduct most suitable to the emergency of the times. First 
of all he concerned himself with the Lombards. After 
nine years' exertion, in overcoming Byzantine repugnance 
to acknowledge any right whatever on the side of the 
Lombards, he concluded a peace between the two powers, 
which made Italy, exhausted by thirty years of war and 
brigandage, thrill with joy. It was of short duration ; but 
when hostilities recommenced, he entered into direct 
negociations with king Agilulf, and obtained from that 
prince a special truce for Rome and its surrounding terri- 
tory. He had besides found a powerful advocate with the 
Lombard king in the person of the illustrious queen 
Theodelinda. This princess, a Bavarian and Catholic by 
birth, had gained the hearts of the Lombards. The queen 
was always the faithful friend of the pope ; she served as a 
medium of communication between him and her husband. 
Gregory, from the very beginning of his pontificate, had 
exhorted the Italian bishops to make special exertions for 
the conversion of these formidable heretics. 

His constancy and courage were called forth in contest 
with the Greeks, with that Eastern Empire which was 
represented by functionaries whose odious exactions had 

* ~ * 

* * 

232 Lives of the Saints. [March. 

quite as great a share in the despair of the people as the 
ravages of the Barbarians, and whose malice was more 
dreadful than the swords of the Lombards. His entire 
life was a struggle with the patriarch of Constantinople, who 
aimed at supplanting the Roman pontiff, as well as with the 
emperor, who would have dominated Italy without defend- 
ing her, and ruled the Church as if she were a department of 
the State. Among so many conflicts, we shall dwell only on 
that one which arose between him and John the Faster, 
patriarch of Constantinople. Relying on the support of 
most of the Eastern bishops, this patriarch took to himself 
the title of Universal Bishop. Gregory stood up with vigour 
against this pretension. He did not draw back before the 
emperor, who openly sided with the patriarch of his capital, 
nor before the patriarchs of Antioch and Alexandria, who 
sided with the Bryzantine patriarch. " What I" wrote 
Gregory to the emperor, " S. Peter, who received the keys 
of heaven and earth, the power of binding and loosing, the 
charge and primacy of the whole Church, was never called 
the Universal Apostle ; and yet my pious brother John 
would name himself Universal Bishop !" For himself he 
says, " I desire to increase in virtue and not in words. I 
do not consider myself honoured in that which dishonours 
my brethren. It is the honour of the universal Church 
that is my honour. Away with these words which inflate 
vanity and wound charity. The holy council of Chalcedon 
and other fathers have offered this title to my predecessors, 
but none of them have ever used it, that they might guard 
their own honour in the sight of God, by seeking here below 
the honour of all the priesthood." This weighty difference, 
the prohibition addressed by the emperor to soldiers 
against their becoming monks, and the contest which arose 
between the pope and the emperor touching the irregular 
election to the metropolitan see of Salona, contributed to 

* & 

* $ 

March 12.] .S*. Gregory the Great. 233 

render almost permanent the misunderstanding between 
them. These perpetual contests with the Byzantine court 
may explain, without excusing, the conduct of Gregory at 
the death of the Emperor Maurice. This prince, infected, 
like all his predecessors, with a mania for interfering in 
ecclesiastical affairs, was very superior to most of them. 
Gregory himself has more than once done justice to his faith 
and piety, to his zeal for the Church, and respect for her 
canons. After twenty years of an undistinguished reign, 
a military revolt broke out, which placed Phocas upon 
the throne. This wretch not only murdered the emperor 
Maurice, gouty, and incapable of defending himself, but 
also his six sons, whom he caused to be put to death under 
the eyes of their father, without even sparing the youngest, 
who was still at the breast, and whom his nurse would have 
saved by putting her own child in his place ; but Maurice, 
who was too noble to allow of such a sacrifice, disclosed 
the pious deception to the murderers. He died like a 
Christian hero, repeating the words of the psalm, " Thou, 
O Lord, art just, and all Thy judgments are right" This 
massacre did not satisfy Phocas, who sacrificed the empress 
and her three daughters, the brother of Maurice, and a 
multitude of others in his train. The monster then sent 
his own image and that of his wife to Rome, where the 
senate and people received them with rejoicings. Gregory 
unfortunately joined in these mean acclamations. He 
carried these images of his new masters, bathed in innocent 
blood, into the oratory of the Lateran palace. Afterwards, 
he addressed extraordinary congratulations to Phocas, not 
in the surprise of the first moment, but seven months after 
the crime. This is the only stain upon the life of Gregory. 
We do not attempt either to conceal or to excuse it It can 
scarcely be explained by recalling all the vexations he had 
suffered from Maurice, annoyances of which he always com- 

ft * 

* * 

234 Lives of the Saints. [March t . 

plained energetically, though he did not fail to do justice to 
the undeniable piety of the old emperor. Perhaps Gregory 
adopted this means to secure the help of Phocas against 
the new incursions of the Lombards, or to mollify before- 
hand the already threatening intentions of the tyrant It 
must also be remembered that these flatteries were in some 
sort the official language of these times ; they resulted from 
the general debasement of public manners, and from the 
tone of the language invariably used then at each change 
of reign. His motives were undoubtedly pure. Notwith- 
standing, a stain remains upon his memory, and a shadow 
upon the history of the Church, which is so consoling and 
full of light in this age of storm and darkness. But among 
the greatest and holiest of mortals, virtue, like human wis- 
dom, always falls short in some respect 

Long crushed between the Lombards and Byzantines, 
between the unsoftened ferocity of the barbarians and the 
vexatious decrepitude of despotism, Gregory, with that in- 
stinctive perception of future events which God sometimes 
grants to pure souls, sought elsewhere a support for the 
Roman Church. His eyes were directed to the new races, 
who were scarcely less ferocious than the Lombards, but 
who did not, like them, weigh upon Italy and Rome, and 
who already exhibited elements of strength and continuance. 
It is impossible to do more here than touch on these noble 
enterprises. He entered into correspondence with Childe- 
bert, the Gallo-Frank king, and with the French bishops, to 
obtain the rectification of abuses and the purification of the 
Gallican church from simony, and the nomination of lay- 
men to the episcopal office, two vices which consumed the 
vitals of Christianity in France. Spain had become Arian 
under the Visigoths, but the Catholic faith had triumphed 
with the accession of Recared, in 587. S. Leander, bishop 
of Seville, was the principal author of the conversion of the 

* .,j, 

* * 

March mo S. Gregory the Great. 235 

Visigoths. Gregory wrote to him and to other bishops of 
Spain. They consulted him, and he gave them his advice. 
He wrote, and gave councils full of wisdom to the king 
Recared, himself. He brought back to the unity of the 
Church the schismatical bishops of Istria, and wholly sup- 
pressed the Donatist schism in Africa. But one of the 
most striking points in the life of S. Gregory is his zeal for 
the conversion of England. 

Amid the labours of his exalted position, S. Gregory never 
remitted his anxiety for the evangelization of that distant 
isle. In July, a.d. 596, he dispatched S. Augustine (May 
26th), with forty companions, on that mission to which we 
owe so much, that, with every feeling of love and venera- 
tion for the remnant of Celtic Christianity which had then 
escaped the sword of Pagan Saxondom, we may yet say, 
with the Venerable Bede, " If Gregory be not to others an 
apostle, he is one to us, for the seal of his apostleship are 
we in the Lord." 

The services which he rendered to the Liturgy are well 
known. Completing and putting in order the work of his 
predecessors, he gave its definite form to the holy sacrifice 
of the Mass, in that celebrated Sacramentary which remains 
the most august monument of Liturgical science. It may 
be said also that he created, and, by anticipation, saved, 
Christian art, by fixing, long before the persecution of the 
Iconclasts, the true doctrine respecting the veneration of 
images, in that fine letter to the bishop of Marseilles, in 
which he reproves him for having, in the excess of his zeal 
against idolatry, broken the statues of the saints, and re- 
minds him that through all antiquity the history of the 
saints has been pictorically represented, and that painting is 
to the ignorant what letters are to those who can read. 

But his name is specially associated, in the history of 
Catholic worship, with that branch of religious art which is 


236 Lives of the Saints. [March . 

identified with worship itself, and which is of the utmost 
moment to the piety as to the innocent joy of the Christian 
people. The name of Gregorian Chant reminds us of his 
solicitude for collecting the ancient melodies of the Church, 
in order to subject them to rules of harmony, and to arrange 
them according to the requirements of divine worship. He 
had the glory of giving to Ecclesiastical music that sweet 
and solemn character which has descended through ages, 
and to which we must always return after the most prolonged 
aberrations of frivolty and innovation. He made out him- 
self, in his Antiphonary, the collection of ancient and new 
chants ; he composed the text and melodies of several 
hymns, which are still used in the Church ; he established 
at Rome the celebrated school of sacred music, to which 
Gaul, Germany, and England came in turns, trying with more 
or less success to assimilate their voices to the purity of 
Italian modulations. And when Gregory was too ill to 
leave his little chamber and his couch, he gathered about 
him the boys of the choir, and continued their instructions. 

The gout made the last years of his life a kind of martyr- 
dom. The cry of pain rings in many of his letters. " For 
nearly two years," he wrote to the patriarch of Alexandria, 
"I have been imprisoned to my bed by such pangs of gout, 
that I can scarcely rise for two or three hours on great 
holidays to celebrate solemn mass. And the intensity of 
the pain compels me immediately to lie down again, that I 
may be able to endure my torture, by giving free course to 
my groans. My illness will neither leave me nor kill me. I 
entreat your holiness to pray for me, that I may be soon 
delivered, and receive that freedom which you know, and 
which is the glory of the children of God." 

Up to his last moments he continued with unwearied 
activity to dictate his correspondence, and to concern him- 
self with the interests of the Church. He died on the 12th 



March i .] S. Gregory the Great. 237 

March, 604, aged nearly fifty-five, in the thirteenth year of 
his pontificate. He was buried in S. Peter's ; and in the 
epitaph engraved on his tomb, it is said that, " after having 
conformed all his actions to his doctrine, the consul of God 
went to enjoy eternal triumph." 

S. Hildefonsus, Archbishop of Toledo, in the seventh 
century, writes thus of him " He surpassed Antony in 
holiness, Cyprian in eloquence, and Augustine in wisdom." 
Yet so great was his humility, that he subscribed himself, 
" Servant of the servants of God " a style which his suc- 
cessors in the chair of S. Peter have retained till this day. 
He was buried in the basilica of S. Peter. His pallium, 
reliquary, and girdle were preserved as precious memorials. 

He had, like so many other great hearts, to struggle with 
ingratitude, not only during his life, but after his death. 
Rome was afflicted with a great famine under his successor, 
Sabinian, who put an end to the charities which Gregory 
had granted to the poor, on the plea that there was nothing 
remaining in the treasury of the Church. The enemies of 
the deceased pope then excited the people against him, 
calling him prodigal and a waster of the Roman patrimony ; 
and that ungrateful people, whom he had loved and helped 
so much, began to burn his writings, as if to annihilate or 
dishonour his memory. But one of the monks, who had 
followed him from the monastery to the palace, his friend 
the deacon Peter, interposed. He represented to the incen- 
diaries that these writings were already spread through the 
entire world, and that it was, besides, sacrilege to burn the 
work of a holy doctor, upon whom he swore he had himself 
seen the heavenly dove fluttering. And as if to confirm his 
oath, after having ended his address, he breathed forth his 
last sigh, a valiant witness of truth and friendship, and is 
commemorated by the Church on the same day with S. 

* * 

238 Lives of the Saints. [March m. 

In the year 826, the body of this holy pontiff was brought 
into France, and placed in the celebiated monastery of S. 
Medard, in Soissons. The head was given to archbishop 
Agesil, and deposited in the abbey of S. Pierre-le-Vif, at 
Sens, and a bone was given to Rome at the request of pope 
Urban VIII., in 1628. 

In art, S. Gregory is represented as a pope, with a dove 
hovering over him, or at his ear, and with music in his hand : a 
frequent subject with Mediaeval sculptors and painters was 
his Mass. According to the legend, as he was about to 
communicate a woman, and said, " The Body of our Lord 
Jesus Christ preserve thy body and soul unto Eternal Life," 
he saw her smile, wherefore he refused to give her the host, 
and questioning her, found that she doubted how what her 
senses told her was bread could be the flesh of Christ. Then 
S. Gregory prayed that her eyes might be opened, and in- 
stantly the Host was visibly changed into Christ enduring 
His passion. 


(7TH CENT.) 
[Irish Martyrologies. Authority : Colgan.] 

S. Muran was the son of Feradach, of the noble race of 
the O'Neills, and was abbot of Fathinis, in the peninsula of 
Inis-coguin, five miles from Deny, in the north of Ulster. 
He was famous for his sanctity ; and was greatly honoured 
of old in that part of Ireland, where the church of Fathinis 
was dedicated in his name ; but the particulars of his life 
have not been handed down. 

* -# 


March, p. 238.] 

[March 12. 

* * 

March .] S. Fina. 239 

S. FINA, V. 
(a.d. 1253.) 

[Venerated in Tuscany, especially at S. Geminiani. Authority : A Life 
written by the famous preacher, John de S. Geminiani (1310).] 

S. Fina was the daughter of very poor parents at S. 
Geminiani, in Tuscany. Her name was probably Seraphina, 
but it is only known by its diminutive of endearment, Fina. 
The young girl was singularly beautiful, and at the same 
time exceedingly bashful, ever walking abroad with her soft 
dark eyes modestly lowered. Whilst yet young she was 
suddenly paralysed through her whole body, with the excep- 
tion of her head. For six years she lay on one side upon a 
hard board, and would not suffer her mother or the neigh- 
bours to make her a soft bed, desiring rather to be like our 
Blessed Lord, stretched on His Cross. The father seems 
to have been dead, and the poor mother begged for subsis- 
tence for herself and daughter. The girl's skin broke, and 
formed terrible sores, but she bore all her sufferings with 
sweetness. When left alone, the mice and rats, which 
infested the miserable hut, would often come and attack 
her, and horribly mangle her sores, and the poor child being 
paralysed in all her members was unable to protect herself 
from them. Yet not a murmur escaped her lips, nor did a 
cloud darken the serenity of her temper. She was always 
gentle, loving, and considerate of others. 

A new misfortune now befel her. Her mother died sud- 
denly whilst crossing the threshold, on her return from beg 
ging, and Fina was left wholly unprovided for. She was thus 
left perfectly helpless, to the mercy of poor neighbours. But 
their desultory attention was not like that of a mother, and it 
soon became evident that she would die through partial neg- 
lect. In the midst of her sufferings she had been comforted 
by being told of S. Gregory the Great and his cruel pains, and 




Lives of the Saints. 

[March xa. 

the young girl had formed a strong attachment and devotion 
to him. One night, as she lay alone, uncared for in her 
hut, the great pontiff and doctor of the Church shone out of 
the darkness by the side of the pauper cripple, and bade 
her be of good cheer. " Dear child, on my festival Christ 
will give thee rest." And it was so. On the feast of S. 
Gregory she died. When the neighbours lifted the poor 
little body from the board on which it had lain, lo ! that 
board was covered with white violets exhaling a delicious 
perfume, and to this day, at S. Geminiani, the peasants call 
these flowers which bloom about the day of her death, S. 
Fina's flowers. 

Symbolic carving at the Abbey of S. Denis. 




March i 3 ] .S". Euphrasia. 241 

March 13. 

S. Euphrasia, V. in Egypt, after a.d. 410. 

S. Mochoemog, Ab. of Liathmor, in Ireland, middle ofyth cent. 

S. Gerald, Ab. and B. of Mayo, in Ireland, circ. a.d. 700. 

S. Nicephorus, Pair, of Constantinople, a.d. 828. 

S. Ansewin, B. ofCtimcrino, in Italy, circ. a.d. 840. 

SS. Ruderick, P.M., and Salomon, M. at Cordova, A.D. 8s7. 

S. Eldrad, Ab. of Novalese, in Italy, A.D. 875. 

S. Kennocha, V. in Scotland, circ. a.d. 1007. 

B. Eric or Henrick, C. at Perugia, a.d. 1415- 


(AFTER A.D. 410.) 

[Roman Martyrology, on the authority of Usuardus. By the Greeks on 
July 25th. Authority : An ancient Greek life, published by Bollandus, 
quoted by S. John Damascene (730). There are other, more modern, 
versions of the ancient life.] 

|jN the reign of Theodosius the First, Antigonus, 

governor of Lycia, and his wife, Euphrasia, were 

blessed by God with a little daughter, who was 

named after her mother. Antigonus and his 

wife feared God, and served Him with all their hearts, and 

with one consent resolved to bring up their little child as a 

bride of Christ. Shortly after Antigonus had formed this 

resolution he was called out of the world. When the child 

was five years old, the emperor, who had taken the little girl 

under his protection, proposed to the mother that she should 

be given in marriage to the son of a wealthy senator, in 

accordance with the custom of the times, to betroth maidens 

of high rank from infancy. The mother consented, and 

received the betrothal presents from the parents of the boy, 

and the marriage was arranged to take place as soon as the 

maiden was of a sufficient age. But in the meantime, some 

vol. in. 16 
4, * 



242 Lives of the Saints. [March r * 

changes in the imperial household having thrown Euphrasia, 
the mother, out of favour, she retired into Egypt with her 
daughter, under pretext of visiting her relatives, and whilst 
there she travelled into Upper Egypt, and saw with admira- 
tion and respect the holy lives of the solitaries who inhabited 
the deserts of the Thebaid. 

In the Thebaid was a convent of a hundred holy women, 
and the widow found great delight and exceeding profit in 
visiting it frequently, 1 taking with her each time her little 
child, who was then aged seven. The mother superior was 
warmly attached to the beautiful girl, and one day drawing 
the child towards her, before her mother, asked Euphrasia 
if she loved her. " That do I," answered the child, looking 
up into her face. " Well, will you come and live with us, 
then ?" enquired the superior, playfully. " I would," re- 
plied Euphrasia, "if I did not think it would trouble my 
mother." " And now, my pet," said the superior, " which 
do you love best, your little husband or us sisters." " I 
have never seen my little husband, nor has my little husband 
ever seen me, so we cannot love each other much," answered 
the child ; " but I do love you sisters very much, because I 
know you. Which do you love best, my little husband or 
me?" " Oh," said the nun, " I love you much the best ; 
but I love Jesus Christ above all." "So do I," said the 
child, " I love you very much, but I love Jesus Christ 

The mother, Euphrasia, looked on smiling, and with tears 
in her eyes, as this simple conversation, which has been 
blown down to us through more than fifteen centuries, 
passed between the old nun and the child. Then she took 
her child's hand to lead her away. But the young Euphrasia 
implored her mother to let her remain, and she, supposing 

1 She gave the sisters, we are told, candles and incense for their altar, and oil for 
their oratory lamp, but gold they would not receive. 



* 9 

March i 3 .] S. Euphrasia. 243 

this was a mere infantine caprice, consented, thinking that 
she would soon weary of the cloister life. But it was not 
so. The child clung to the sisters, in spite of every hard- 
ship and trial inflicted on her to persuade her to go. She 
was told she must fast, and learn the Psalter by heart, if she 
remained, and sleep on the hard ground. She was ready 
for all, rather than depart. Then the superior said to the 
mother, " Leave the little girl with us, for the grace of God 
is working in her heart. Your piety and that of Antigonus 
have opened to her the most perfect way." Then Euphrasia, 
the mother, took her child in her arms, and going before an 
image of our Blessed Lord, she held up the little girl, and 
said, weeping, " My Lord Jesus Christ, receive this child 
into Thy protection, since she desires Thee only, and devotes 
herself to Thy service alone." And she blessed her daughter, 
saying, " May the Lord, who made the mountains so strong 
that they cannot be moved, confirm thee in His holy fear." 
But when the parting came, she burst into a flood of tears, 
and the whole community wept with her. A few days after, 
the superior brought the young Euphrasia into the chapel, 
and vested her in the religious habit, and kneeling down by 
the tiny novice, she prayed, " O King of ages, finish in this 
child the work of sanctification that Thou hast begun. Give 
her grace to follow in all things Thy holy will, and to place 
in Thee her hope and confidence." 

When her mother saw her in her austere habit, she asked 
her if she were content. " Oh, mother !" cried the child, 
" It is my marriage garment, given me on my espousals to 
Jesus." " May He, sweet child, make thee worthy of His 
love," said the mother. 

Years passed away, and the little flower grew up and 
bloomed in the cool shade of the cloister, and her mother 
had rejoined Antigonus in bliss, when the emperor wrote to 
Euphrasia to order her instantly to return to Constantinople 

* * 

244 Lives of the Saints. (March . 

and marry the young man to whom he had betrothed her. 
She was of imperial blood, and Theodosius considered that, 
on the death of her mother, the charge of Euphrasia, who 
was now an heiress and very wealthy, devolved on him. 
She replied, imploring him to allow her to follow her voca- 
tion, and requested him to dispose of all her property for 
the benefit of the poor. Euphrasia was then aged twelve. 
Theodosius, satisfied that she was in earnest, obeyed her 
request, and troubled her no more about the marriage. But 
now arrived a critical time of life, when youthful spirits and 
passions were in effervesence, and she was cruelly tormented 
with vain imaginations and temptations to go forth into that 
wondrous world of which she knew so little, but which, 
clothed in the rainbow tints of infantine remembrance, 
allured her fancy. To divert her attention, and at the same 
time to prove her obedience, the superior one day pointed 
to a great heap of stones, and bade her carry them to the 
top of a little sand hill, some distance off. Euphrasia 
obeyed cheerfully, toiling at removing the stones under the 
hot sun, one by one, to the place indicated. Then she 
came joyously to the superior, and signified to her that the 
task was accomplished. " Bring them all back again," said 
the mother superior. And the young nun hasted to obey. 
Next day she presented herself before the superior once 
more. "I have changed my mind," said the mother; 
" take the stones back again to the top of the mound." 
And thirty times did she make Euphrasia carry them back ; 
and each time was she obeyed with cheerfulness. 

She was then sent into the kitchen, and made to chop up 
the wood for the fire, bake the bread, and cook the food. 
The sister who undertook this arduous task was usually 
exempt from attending the midnight offices, but Euphrasia 
never missed being present in choir with the others, and 
when she was twenty, she was taller and plumper than any 

* & 

March i 3 .j S. Mochoemog. 245 

of the other sisters, her face had lost none of its beauty and 
freshness, but beamed with amiability. She had her trials, 
being for some time vexed with the contradiction of one of 
the sisters, who took a spite against her, being filled with 
jealousy of her virtues, and she once seriously injured her 
foot with the axe when chopping up wood. But God 
favoured her, and gave her the power of working miracles, 
and she cast evil spirits out of many that were possessed, 
and healed many that were sick. And when she was about 
to die, Julia, a favourite sister, who inhabited the same cell, 
implored Euphrasia to obtain for her the grace to be her 
companion in heaven, as she had been her associate on 
earth. Then, when Euphrasia was dead, sister Julia cast 
herself on her tomb, and wept and prayed, and the third 
day she was called away to be with her friend in the 
heavenly kingdom. Now, when the aged superior saw this, 
she longed greatly to enter also into her rest ; it was she 
who had admitted Euphrasia, and it grieved her sore to be 
left in the desert when her spiritual daughter had entered 
the Promised Land. So she prayed also, and when the 
nuns looked into her cell in the morning, she had joined 
Euphrasia and Julia. 



[Irish Martyrologies, also the German Martyrology of Canisius. Autho- 
rity : A life purporting to be written by a disciple, but this is certainly 
false. It can not have been written before the 12th century. I give the 
btory, and the reader may believe as much as he likes of the wonderful 

The abbot Mochoemog was born in Connaught. His 
father, on account of a feud, came into Munster and settled 
on the lands of O'Connell-Ghabhra. The father, Beoan by 
name, loved a certain beautiful damsel, called Nessa, of the 

* * 

, * 

246 Lives of the Saints. [March ij. 

race of the Nan-desi, 1 the sister of S. Ytha, and having 
wedded her, he went with his wife to S. Ytha, aud built her 
a beautiful convent, for Beoan was a skilful architect. Then 
S. Ytha said to him, "What recompense shall I give thee?" 
Then he said, " Thou knowest that I have no heir ; beseech 
the Lord that He may grant me one." And Ytha answered, 
" A son shalt thou have, elect before God and men." 

Now there was a certain king, named Crunmhoel, who 
made war on the O'Connells, and a great battle was fought, 
and Beoan was in the battle, and he fell. Then his wife 
went over the field seeking him, and she found his head, 
and knew it again, and she took it and carried it to S. Ytha, 
and said, " Where is thy promise, sister, that he should have 
an heir ?" Then the holy abbess said, " Weep not, my 
sister, but put his head on to his body again." " How can 
I know his body in the midst of so many headless corpses ?" 
asked Nessa. " Be not discouraged," answered the holy 
abbess, "Go into the field, and call Beoan thrice in the 
name of the Holy Trinity, and he will come after his head, 
then put it on again." So Nessa did so. And when she 
had called the third time, a dead man got up out of his 
place, and he had lost his head, but he seemed to be look- 
ing about for it with his stump. So he came to Nessa, and 
she put his head on, and then he opened his mouth, and 
said, " Oh, woman ! why didst thou call me?" And he was 
sound again. Therefore he and his wife came to S. Ytha, 
who asked him, " Friend, desirest thou to tarry longer here 
below, or to go direct to heaven ?" Beoan answered, " I 
esteem this world as nothing compared to eternal glory." 
" That is well," answered Ytha ; " However, my promise 
must be kept Thou must go home with thy wife." Then 
she washed his head and neck, and not even a scar re- 
mained. And after that Nessa became pregnant. Now 

1 Decies, county Waterford. 
* -* 

* * 

March u.] S. Mochoemog. 247 

there was in the east of Ireland, at Momyfechta, a blind 
abbot, named Fechean, 1 and he prayed that he might recover 
his sight. Then an angel appeared to him, and bade him 
go and wash his eyes in the milk from the breast of the wife 
of Beoan. But S. Fechean knew not where Beoan lived, 
and had never heard his name before. Then he went to S. 
Ytha, to ask her to direct him, and she told him whither he 
was to go. And Fechean hasted, guided by his disciples, 
and they came to a mill, and there he found Beoan and his 
wife. Then Fechean related in order his vision, and the 
journey he had undertaken, and when he had made his peti- 
tion, Nessa gave him some of her milk, and therewith he 
washed his eyes, and straightway he saw plain, and returned 
with great joy to his monastery. 

Now when Nessa was near the term of her pregnancy, 
she went in a chariot to her sister. And Ytha heard the 
driving of the car, and she sent one of her maidens forth, 
saying, " I hear a chariot sounding as though a king rode 
therein. Who cometh to me?" Then the maiden answered, 
" It is thy sister Nessa." " It is well," said Ytha ; " She 
bears in her womb a child who will sit enthroned in heaven, 
therefore did the chariot sound royally." 

Now as soon as Nessa bore a son, it was told to Ytha, 
and she gave him a name, Mochoemog (Mo-choem-og), 
meaning " My-gentle-youth," and in Latin he is called Pul- 
cherius. Then his parents gave him to S. Ytha, that she 
might rear him in the service of God, and he grew up in 
her house till he was twenty years old. And after that he 
went into Ulster, to S. Comgall, and was ordained priest by 
him, and he resided many years in Banchor under his 
guidance. But at length S. Comgall bade him depart and 
found a new monastery, and become father of a new genera- 
tion of monks. So he went into Leinster, to Enacht, in 

1 Not to be mistaken Tor S. Fechin of Fore. ( olgan mistakes in to thinking. 


248 Lives of the Saints. [March 13. 

Mount Blaine, and there he built a cell. But being driven 
forth, he went into Ossory, and the chief of that part offered 
him his castle, but Mochoemog would not accept it, but 
went into a desert place seeking a home ; and the chief said 
to him, "I have a great and dense forest near the bog 
Lurgan which I will give thee." Then Mochemog was 
pleased, and he went into the forest, and he carried in his 
hand a bell. Now Ytha had given him this bell when he 
was a child, and it sounded not. " But," said she, " when 
thou comest to the place of thy resurrection, then the bell 
will tinkle." So Mochoemog walked on till he reached a 
wide spreading oak, under which lay an old gray boar ; and 
instantly the bell began to sound. So Mochomeog knew 
that he had reached the place of his resurrection, and he 
settled there, and because of the great grey boar, he called 
the place Liath-mor (Liath, grey ; mor, great.) 1 

Here he dwelt for many years, training saints. He was 
greatly troubled by princes, for on the death of his protector, 
the chief who had given him Liathmor, his son endeavoured 
to drive the aged abbot and his community away, but was 
miraculously prevented from doing so. Once the horses of the 
king of Munster were driven to pasture on the lands of the 
abbey, because the grass there was very rich. Mochoemog 
drove them all off, and hearing that the king was exceed- 
ingly incensed against him, and had ordered that he and 
his monks should be forcibly ejected from the country, the 
old man hasted to Cashel, where was the king. The prince 
seeing him, exclaimed, " What ! little old bald head, thou 
here ! I shall have thee driven from the place." " I may be 
bald," answered the abbot, " but thou shalt be blind of 
an eye." Then suddenly there came an inflammation in 
the eye of the king, and he lost the sight of it. The king, 
humbled, implored relief from the pain. " He shall be 

1 In King's County. 

* % 

March i 3 .] S. Nicephorus. 249 

freed from his pain," answered Mochoemog, " but he shall 
remain blind of an eye." Then he blessed a vessel of 
water, and therewith the king's eye was washed, and the 
inflammation ceased. 

The wonders wrought by Mochoemog are too many to 
be further related here. We have given a few specimens, 
and must refer the reader to the original life for the rest 

Mochoemog died at Liathmor, and was there buried. 


(a.d. 828.) 

[This is the festival of the Translation of S. Nicephorus in the Roman 
Martyrology and Greek Menasa. June 2nd is the day of his death also 
observed in his honour by the Greeks. Authorities : His life by Ignatius 
deacon of Constantinople, and afterwards bishop of Nicaea, a contemporary, 
and an account of his banishment by Theophanes, a fellow sufferer in the 

The father of this saint, named Theodore, was secretary 
to the emperor Constantine Copronymus, but when that 
tyrant declared himself a persecutor of the Catholic church, 
the faithful minister preferring to serve God rather than 
man, maintained the honour due to holy images with so 
much zeal, that he was stripped of his honours, scourged, 
tortured, and banished. The young Nicephorus grew up 
with his father's example before his eyes to stimulate him 
to confession of the truth at any sacrifice; his education 
was not neglected, and he made rapid progress in all the 
accomplishments of the age. When Constantine and Irene 
were placed on the imperial throne, and restored the use 
of sacred pictures and images in churches, Nicephorus was 
introduced to their notice, and by his sterling merit obtained 
their favour. He was by them advanced to his father's 

* * 

250 Lives of the Saints. [March 13. 

dignity, and, by the lustre of his sanctity, he became at 
once the ornament of the court, and the support of the 
state. He distinguished himself greatly by his zeal against 
the Iconoclasts, and acted as secretary to the second 
council of Nicaja. After the death of S. Tarasius, (Feb. 
25th), patriarch of Constantinople, in 806, no one was 
found more worthy to succeed him than Nicephorus. To 
give an authentic testimony of his faith, during the time of 
his consecration he held in his hand a treatise he had 
written in defence of holy images, and after the ceremony 
was concluded, he laid it up behind the altar, as a pledge 
that he would always maintain the tradition of the Church. 
As soon as he was seated in the patriarchal chair, he 
set about endeavouring to effect a reformation of manners 
of the clergy and people, and his precepts from the 
pulpit received double force from his example. He ap- 
plied himself with unwearied diligence to all the duties 
of the ministry ; and, by his zeal and invincible meekness 
and patience, was able to effect much which a less earnest 
or harsher character would have found it impossible to 

Constantine was blinded, Irene banished, Nicephorus I., 
her successor, had fallen before the Bulgarians. Michael I. 
was driven from the throne, and Leo the Armenian be- 
came emperor in 813. He was an Iconoclast, and en- 
deavoured both by artifices and open violence to establish 
that heresy. His first endeavour, however, was, by crafty 
suggestions, to gain over the holy patriarch to favour his 
design of destroying the sacred pictures and images which 
had resumed their places in the churches and streets, after 
the second council of Nicasa had sanctioned their use. But 
S. Nicephorus answered him, "We cannot change the 
ancient traditions : we respect holy images as we do the 
cross and the book of the gospels." For it must be ob- 

* * 

,J, __ l 

March 13.] * Nicephorus. 251 

served that the ancient Iconoclasts venerated the book of 
the gospels, and the figure of the cross, though with singular 
inconsistency, they forbade the rendering of the like honour 
to holy images. The saint showed, that far from dero- 
gating from the supreme honour of God, we honour Him 
when we for His sake respect His angels, saints, prophets, 
and ministers; and also when we show reverence towards 
all such things as belong to His service, like sacred vessels, 
churches, and images. But the tyrant persisted in his 
error, and the first steps he took against images were 
marked by caution. He privately encouraged some soldiers 
to maltreat an image of Christ on a great cross at the 
brazen gate of the city; and then he ordered the image 
to be taken off the cross, pretending he did it to prevent a 
second profanation. S. Nicephorus saw the storm gather- 
ing, and spent most of his time in prayer, in company 
with several holy bishops and abbots. Shortly after, the 
emperor, having assembled certain Iconoclastic bishops in his 
palace, sent for the patriarch and his fellow-bishops. 1 They 
obeyed the summons, but entreated the emperor to leave 
the government of the Church to her pastors. ^Emilian, 
bishop of Cyzicus, one of their body, said, " If this is an 
ecclesiastical affair, let it be discussed in the Church, 
according to custom, not in the palace." Euthymius, 
bishop of Sardis, said, " For these eight hundred years past, 
since the coming of Christ, there have been pictures of 
Him, and He has been honoured in them. Who shall now 
have the boldness to abolish so ancient a tradition?" S. 
Theodore of the Studium spoke after the bishops, and 
addressed the emperor, "My lord, do not disturb the order 
of the Church. God hath placed in it apostles, prophets, 
pastors, and teachers. 8 You he hath entrusted with the 

1 For a further account of this assembly and the ensuing persecution, see the 
life of S. Nicetas, April 3rd. 
J Eph. iv. 11. 

4> . # 

#- * 

252 Lives of the Saints, [March 13. 

care of the State ; the Church hath he entrusted to the care 
of her Bishops." The emperor, in a rage, drove them from 
his presence. Some time after, the Iconoclast bishops held 
an assembly in the imperial palace, and cited the patriarch 
to appear before them. To their summons he returned this 
answer, " Who gave you this authority ? If it was he who 
pilots the vessel of old Rome, I am ready. If it was the 
Alexandrine successor of the Evangelist Mark, I am ready. 
If it was the patriarch of Antioch, or he of Jerusalem, I 
make no opposition. But who are ye ? In my diocese you 
have no jurisdiction." He then read the canon which de- 
clares those excommunicate who presume to exercise any 
act of jurisdiction in the diocese of another bishop. They, 
however, proceeded to pronounce against him a sentence of 
deposition ; and the holy pastor, after several attempts had 
been made secretly to take away his life, was sent by the 
emperor into banishment. Michael the Stammerer, who 
succeeded Leo the Armenian, in 820, also favoured the 
Iconoclastic faction, and continued to harass S. Nicephorus, 
who died in exile, on June 2nd, 828, in the monastery of 
S. Theodore, which he had erected, at the age of seventy. 
By order of the empress Theodora, his body was brought to 
Constantinople with great pomp, in 846, on the 13th of 


(CIRC. A.D. 840.) 

[Roman Martyrology. Authority : A life written by Eginus the monk, 
about the year 960, not, apparently entire, and the Lections of the Breviary 
of Camerino.] 

S. Ansewin, or Hanse-win, was a native of Camerino, 
in Tuscany. He retired in early life into the solitude of 
Castel-Raymond, near Torcello, after his ordination as priest. 
He was appointed chaplain and confessor to the emperor 


* * 

* _ X 

March 13.] .S". Ansewin, 253 

Louis, and in 822, he was nominated to the bishopric of his 
native city. A strange legend of his expedition to Rome 
to receive consecration has been recorded by his bio- 
grapher. On arriving at Narni, with a calvacade of nobles 
and friends who accompanied him from Camerino, they put 
up at a tavern for refreshment, and asked for wine. The 
publican, an ill-conditioned fellow, served them with what 
they desired, but Ansewin, looking at it, detected that it 
was watered, and sharply rebuked the taverner. The man 
surlily replied that they must drink what was set before 
them, and that it was no odds to him whether they liked his 
wine or not 

" Now, friend," said the bishop-elect, " we have no drink- 
ing vessels with us, so bring us forth horns or goblets." 

"Not I," answered the publican, "I provide wine, but 
customers usually bring their own cups." 

"But, friend, we have none with us." "That is your 
affair, not mine," answered the fellow rudely. "Then we 
must do what we can," said Ansewin, drawing off his cape, 
and holding out the hood. " Come, host ! pour the wine 
in here." The man stared, and then burst into a roar of 
laughter. But Ansewin persisted. " Then, fool, I will do 
so, and waste the liquor, but mind, you pay for it," said he. 
" Pour boldly," said the bishop-elect, holding the hood 
distended ; and the inn-keeper obeyed. Then two marvels 
occurred, the hood retained the liquor, and served as a 
drinking horn to all the company, and the water which had 
diluted the wine separated from it, and flowed away over 
the edge. 

He ruled his diocese with great prudence, and in time of 
famine, by his wise regulations and abundant alms, greatly 
relieved the sufferings of the poor. He was absent from 
his dear city where he had been born, and which he had 
ministered to with so much love, when he was stricken with 

* * 

254 Lives of the Saints. [March t 3 . 

mortal sickness. He was greatly distressed at the prospect 
of dying out of his diocese, and ordered a horse to be 
brought that he might ride home. His companions, seeing 
death in his face, remonstrated ; but he persisted in his 
command, and when his horse was brought to the door, 
he descended, supported by his friends to it Then the 
horse knelt down, and suffered the dying man to mount 
him without effort. As soon as he was in Camerino, he 
ordered all his flock to assemble to receive his final bless- 
ing, and then gently expired. 

Relics at Camerino, in the cathedral, and a portion of 
the shoulder in the Vatican. 

In art he is represented with his hood full of wine. 


(A.D. 857.) 

[Roman Martyrology. Authority : S. Eulogius, (March nth), himself 
a martyr in the same persecution, 859, wrote the Acts of all those who 
suffered at that time, either from his own knowledge, or from the testi- 
mony of eye witnesses.] 

During the persecution of the Christians under the 
Moorish occupation of Spain, there was a priest in the 
village of Cabra, about five-and-twenty miles from Cordova, 
named Ruderick, who had two brothers, whereof one had 
renounced Christianity and become a Moslem. One night 
this apostate brother and the other were quarrelling, and 
came to blows, when Ruderick rushed between them to 
separate them, but was so mauled by both, that he fell 
senseless on the ground. The Mussulman brother then 
placed him on a litter, and had him carried about the 
country, walking by his side, and showing him off as a 
renegade priest. Ruderick was too much bruised and 

* # 

March l3 o ,S. Kennocha. 255 

strained to resist for a while, but he bore this with greater 
anguish than his bodily injuries, and as soon as ever he was 
sufficiently recovered, he effected his escape. The rene- 
gade meeting him some time after in the streets of Cordova, 
dragged him before the cadi, and denounced him as having 
professed the Mussulman religion, and then returned to 
Christianity. Ruderick indignantly denied that he had 
ever apostatized, but the cadi, believing the accusation, 
ordered him to be cast into the foulest den of the city 
prison, reserved for parricides. There he found a Christian, 
named Salomon, awaiting sentence on a similar charge of 
having conformed to the established religion for a while, 
and then returned to the worship of Christ. They were 
retained in prison for some time, the cadi hoping thus 
to weary them into apostasy. But the two confessors 
encouraged each other to stand fast Being made ac- 
quainted with this, the cadi ordered them to be separated, 
but when this also failed, he sentenced them both to 


(ABOUT A.D. IO07.) 
[Aberdeen Breviary. Authority : The same.] 

On March 13th, the Ancient Scottish Church commemo- 
rated S. Kennocha, a virgin, who, desirous of consecrating 
herself wholly to Jesus Christ, met with long and vehement 
opposition from her parents and friends, and underwent 
from them great hardships and persecution, without shaking 
her constancy. She led a life as a solitary of great severity, 
and attained a good old age. She was buried in the 
church of Kyle. 

* * 

256 Lives of the Saints. [March i 4 . 

March 14. 

SS. Forty-seven Martyrs, under Nero, in Rome, a.d. 67. 

SS. Peter, Aphrodisius, and Others, MM. at Carthage. 

SS. Two Monks and a Deacon, MM. in the Airuzzi, 6th cent. 

S. Lubin, B. of Chartres, circ. a.d. 557. 

S. Eutychius, or Eustasius, and Companions, MM. at Charm, 

in Mesopotamia, a.d. 741. 
S. Mathilda, Emf. of Germany, a.d. 968. 

(a.d. 67.) 

[Reman Martyrology. Authority : The ancient Acts of SS. Processus 

and Martinian.l 

iHESE forty-seven martyrs are believed to have 
been converted by S. Peter, at the time when 
he was confined along with S. Paul, in the 
Mamertine prison, in which they spent nine 
months. According to tradition S. Peter brought water out 
of the rock wherewith to baptize them. They suffered 
execution by the sword. 


(date uncertain.) 

[Roman Martyrology.] 

The greatest confusion and uncertainty exists relative to 
these martyrs. In the Roman Martyrology they are said to 
have suffered in the Vandal persecution, in Africa. But 
there is some mistake, as the Bollandist fathers have 
pointed out Aphrodisius there can be no doubt is wrong, 


March i 4 .] S. Lubin. 257 

and should be Euphrosius, who in ancient Martyrologies is 
mentioned with SS. Donatus, Frumentius, and others, but 
not with Peter ; and that the martyrdom took place in the 
Vandal persecution is an error of Baronius, trusting to 
Galesinius, with whom it was pure conjecture. There is 
also no evidence that Peter ought to be coupled with 
Euphrosius and Donatus ; but on the authority of ancient 
Martyrologies, with Alexander, Mamerius, Nabor, and 
others, of equally unknown date. 


(a-D. 557.) 

[Gallican Martyrology. His translation is commemorated in the Roman, 
on September 15th. Authority : An ancient life of uncertain date and 
unknown authorship.] 

S. Lubin, (Leobinus), was the son of poor parents near 
Poitiers, and was born in the reign of Clovis I. (the latter 
half of the 5th cent.) His boyhood was spent in ploughing 
the fields and feeding cattle. But he had a great desire to 
learn to read, and having made the acquaintance of a good 
monk, he persuaded him to ink the letters of the alphabet 
on his leather girdle, so that he might carry them about 
with him when he went after the cattle, and learn them by 
heart His intelligence opening, he was sent to a monas- 
tery of that country, but whether it was Liguge" or Nouaille 
is not certain, and was made cellarer, and required to ring 
the hours. These duties gave him little leisure for pursuing 
his studies ; he therefore curtailed his hours of sleep, and as 
his lamp troubled the sleep of the brethren, he hung a 
curtain over his window to screen the light from them. 
After having spent eight years in this monastery, the desire 
came upon him to visit S. Avitus, who lived as a hermit in 

vol. in. 17 



258 Lives of the Saints. [March x 4 . 

Perch e, (July 17 th.) Having gone into this country, he 
met first with S. Calais, who had not then left S. Avitus, to 
settle in Maine, (July 1st); this great master of the spiritual 
life advised Lubin not to attach himself to the service of 
any church or chapel, as it would be the means of drawing 
him into the world, and interfere with the exercise of his 
religious rule, and not to seek a small monastery, for in 
such every one wants to be master. S. Avitus counselled 
Lubin to spend some time longer in a monastery before he 
retired into the desert. He therefore took the road to 
Lerins, but a monk of that abbey whom he met assuring 
him that it was unhealthy, he turned aside with the monk, 
and went to Javoux, where S. Hilary, the bishop of that 
place, 1 received them into his community. But he did not 
long remain there, thanks to his new acquaintance from 
Lerins, who seems to have been nowhere content, and they 
went together to Ile-Barbe, near Lyons. After a while the 
vagabond monk wanted to make another change, and draw 
Lubin away with him, but Lubin shook himself free of this 
restless spirit, and remained five years in Ile-Barbe. 

During a war which broke out between the Franks and 
Burgundians, ending in the defeat of the latter by the sons 
of Clovis, in 525, the abbey of Ile-Barbe was invaded by 
the soldiers greedy of plunder. They found it deserted by 
all the monks, who had escaped, save S. Lubin and an old 
man. The old man, on being asked where the treasures of 
the church were concealed, meanly said that S. Lubin knew 
better than he ; and the soldiers cruelly tormented the 
saint by winding whipcord tightly round his head, and then 
running a stick under it behind the head, and turning the 
stick so as to tighten the cord till it sank into the temples. 
This was a favourite torture with the barbarians, when they 
wanted to extract the secret of hidden treasures from 

1 The seat was afterwards transferred to Mende. 


*- __* 

March i 4 .j S. Lubin. 259 

prisoners. They also tied his feet, and let him, head down 
into the river, but were unable to extract from him the in- 
formation they desired, and of which he may have been 
ignorant. Thinking him dead, the soldiers threw him on 
the bank and left him. He recovered, and made his way 
into Perche to S. Avitus, and served as cellarer in his 
monastery. On the death of S. Avitus, 430, he and two 
others retired into the wilderness of Charbonniers, on the 
extremities of the forest of Montmirail, which separates 
Beauce from Maine. There they built three little cells, and 
spent five years in solitude. But miracles proclaimed the 
sanctity of S. Lubin ; by his intercession a fire which had 
broken out in the forest, and threatened to consume it, was 
arrested. Hearing this, ^Etherius, bishop of Chartres, 
ordained him deacon, and made him abbot of the mona- 
stery of Brou, in Perche ; he afterwards ordained him priest 
to give him more authority over his monks. 

S. Aubin, bishop of Angers, being on his way to visit S. 
Csesarius of Aries, persuaded S. Lubin to accompany him 
(536). When they came into Provence, Lubin yearned to 
retire into the peaceful retreat of Lerins, and escape the 
burden of the charge of his monastery, but S. Aubin sharply 
rebuked him, and made him see that he had no right to 
resign without sufficient cause a burden laid on him by God. 
In 544, ^Etherius died, and Lubin was elected to the see of 
Chartres by the almost unanimous voice of the clergy and 
laity. The saint on his ordination introduced various reforms 
into the see. S. Lubin assisted in the fifth council of 
Orleans, in 549, and in the second of Paris, 551. He died 
in 587, and was buried in the church of S. Martin-du-Val, 
where his body was religiously preserved till the Calvinists 
sacked the church in the 16th century, when they burnt his 
bones, and cast the ashes to the winds. His skull was, 
however, preserved, but it also was lost at the Revolution. 


260 Lives of the Saints. [March M . 


(a.d. 968.) 

[Roman Martyrology. Authority : The Life drawn up by order of the 
emperor Henry, her grandson.] 

The father of the empress Mathilda was Dietrich, count 
of Ringelheim, a descendant of the famous Witikind, prince 
of the Saxons, who had maintained so long and stubborn a 
resistance against Charlemagne. Her mother, Reinhild, 
was of royal Danish and Frisian blood. In her childhood 
Mathilda was entrusted to the tender care of her grand- 
mother Hedwig, who had quitted the world, and had be- 
come abbess of Erfurt. 

Henry the Fowler, son of duke Otho of Saxony, fell in 
love with Mathilda, and married her. The "Life of S. 
Mathilda," written by order of Henry the Pious, her grand- 
son, says that Otho, hearing of the virtues of Mathilda, 
entered into negotiations with the count of Ringelheim to 
have her married to his son Henry. This is, no doubt, 
true, but it is only half the truth. The other part was sup- 
pressed by the pious historian. In fact, Henry was already 
married to Hathburg, daughter of Erwin of Altstadt, whom 
he had taken from the cloister, where she was being edu- 
cated, and by whom he became father of Thankmar, who 
afterwards waged war with Otho the Great, son of Henry 
and Mathilda, claiming the duchy of Saxony as his own by 
right of seniority of birth. Henry saw and fell in love with 
Mathilda, and the young simple girl was probably hardly 
consulted in the matter, when Henry divorced his wife 
Hathburg, sent her back to her convent, and demanded the 
hand of Mathilda of her parents. The wrong done to 
Hathburg was bitterly atoned for in after years, for Mathilda 
was sorely tried by the ingratitude of her own sons, and 

*fr 4, 


March, p. 260.] 

[March 14. 

262 Lives of the Saints. [March x 4 . 

The picture of S. Michael was borne in the van, as the ban- 
ner of the empire. A murderous struggle commenced, the 
Hungarians shouting, " Hui ! hui !" and the Germans, 
" Kyrie-eleison !" Victory long wavered, but was at length 
decided by the discipline and enthusiastic valour of the 
Germans. An immense number of Christian slaves were 
restored to liberty. After the victory, Henry knelt, at the 
head of his troops, and returned thanks to Heaven. The 
terror of the Hungarians now equalled that with which they 
had formerly inspired the Germans. In the belief that the 
arch-angel Michael, whose gigantic picture they ever beheld 
borne in the van of the German army, was the god of vic- 
tory, they made golden wings, similar to those with which 
he was represented, for their own idols. The hand of the 
emperor, and, underneath, a horse shoe, are still to be seen 
cut in the rock at Keuschberg, as a token of the victory. 
Germany remained undisturbed in this quarter during the 
rest of the reign of Henry the Fowler. Henry afterwards 
planned a visit to Rome, but died without accomplishing 
that project, in 936, when at the height of his splendour 
and renown. He was buried at Quedlinburg, his favourite 

The union of Mathilda with her husband had been a very 
happy one. Both endeavoured to advance the kingdom of 
God by every means in their power, and together they con- 
certed laws full of justice, to increase the prosperity of their 
dominions. Henry left behind him three sons by Mathilda, 
Otho, who was elected to the imperial throne on the decease 
of his father, Henry the Quarrelsome, duke of Bavaria, and 
Bruno, archbishop of Cologne. Mathilda spent her time 
in devotion, and gave abundant alms to the needy. She 
was very sober in her repasts, gentle in conversation, and 
ready to do with promptitude and cheerfulness whatever she 
deemed consistent with her position. 


March 14.] 6". Mathilda. 263 

Otho had been unanimously elected emperor, and was 
crowned at Aix-la-Chapelle with more than ordinary solem- 
nity. He was invested with the gigantic crown of Charle- 
magne, the sceptre, the sword, the cross, the sacred lance 
of Longinus, and the golden mantle. And he looked an 
emperor. Witikind says of him in later years, "His de- 
meanour was replete with majesty. His white hair waved 
over his shoulders. His eyes were bright and sparkling ; 
his beard of an extraordinary length ; his breast like that of 
a lion, and covered with hair." 

Proud of his position and power, the young emperor was 
impatient of his mother's advice and authority. Listening 
to those who viewed her virtues with impatience, as a re- 
straint on the licence of a court, they persuaded Otho that 
she had lavished the money of the empire in charities. He 
at once ordered his mother to retire from court to Engern, 
in Ravensberg. It was grief to Mathilda to be thus treated 
by her eldest son, but it was greater grief to her to find that 
her favourite son, Henry of Bavaria, had been the prime 
instigator of her banishment 

But it was not long before Henry fell dangerously ill, and 
Edith, the wife of Otho, deeming this a punishment for the 
wrong done to the saintly dowager empress, and dreading 
the same for her husband, persuaded Otho to recall his 
mother. He wrote to her, asking her pardon, and express- 
ing his deep contrition for his past ingratitude. Mathilda 
was not one to bear resentment, and she returned to court. 
Mathilda now reaped with sorrow the harvest of her early 
involuntary fault in marrying a divorced man. Thankmar 
was in rebellion, for Otho had not been content with depriv- 
ing him of the imperial throne, but had also seized his large 
maternal inheritance in Saxony, and had bestowed it on an 
adherent and friend. Thankmar took arms, and was upheld 
by the Saxons. The emperor marched against his half- 



264 Lives of the Saints. [March i 4 . 

brother, besieged him in Everburg, and Thankmar was slain 
at the foot of the altar, whither he had fled for safety. 
Thankmar had been joined by Eberhardt, duke of Fran- 
conia, who, now that all was lost, fell at the feet of Henry 
of Bavaria, and besought him to intercede in his behalf 
with the emperor. To his surprise, Henry replied, that he 
was willing to join with him in his designs against Otho, in 
order to deprive him of the crown, which he coveted for 
himself. For the present the two confederates dissembled 
their projects, and Eberhardt made his submission to Otho 
with expressions of the deepest contrition for his guilt 
Henry gained confederates to his conspiracy, and suddenly 
attacked Otho as he was crossing the Rhine at Zante, but 
was defeated with great slaughter. Otho pardoned his bro- 
ther, who remained afterwards true to his allegiance, finding 
that it was his best interest to cling to his powerful brother. 
He was a man of treacherous and cruel heart, and when his 
Bavarian subjects rose against him, and called the Hunga- 
rians to their assistance, having defeated them with the aid 
of Otho (955), he buried alive, or burnt in beds of quick- 
lime, the leaders of the adverse party, put out the eyes of 
the bishop of Salzburg, and the patriarch Lupus of Aquileia 
met with a still more wretched fate at his hands. 

In the midst of all these civil wars the dowager empress 
laboured to relieve the sorrows of the peasants upon whom 
the state of hostilities weighed most heavily. Her time was 
devoted to nursing the sick, releasing debtors from prison, 
and feeding the starving. 

But at length, saddened beyond endurance by the con- 
duct of her sons, and despairing of the world, she retired 
into the monastery of Nordhausen, which she had built, 
and gathering about her three thousand sisters, spent the 
rest of her days in tears and prayer. She lived to receive 
her grand-daughter, Mathilda, the child of the emperor 

4 ^ 


March 14.J 

6". Mathilda. 


Otho, into her house, and to commit into her hands the 
government of the community. 

She died on March 14th, 968, and was buried in the 
church of S. Servetus, at Quedlinburg, by the side of her 
husband, Henry. 

Symbolic carving at the Abbey of 8. Dni 




266 Lives of the Saints. {March i S . 

March 15. 

S. Aristobulus, M., ut cent. 

S. Longinus, M., 1st cent. 

S. Nicander, M. in Egypt, cire. a.d. 303. 

S. Matrona, M. at Thessalonica. 

S. Matrona, /'. in Portugal. 

S. Matrona, V.M. at Barcelona, in Spain. 

S. Maoorian, C. at Trent, ith cent. 

S. Tranquilmus, Ab. at Dijon, 6th cent. 

S. Zacharias, Pope of Rome, a.d. 752. 

S. Leocritia, V.M. at Cordova. (See p. 12a.) 


(1ST CENT.) 

[Roman Martyrology, Greek Menologium and Menaea, on March 16th. 
In the Anglican Martyrology he is entitled bishop and martyr. Authority : 
Notice in the Martyrologies and Menaea.] 

OTHING is known for certain of S. Aristobulus, 
who was one of the seventy disciples of our 
Lord. He is said by the Greeks to have 
preached in Britain. He may be the Arystly 
who, according to the Welsh Triads, was one of the founders 
of Christianity in Britain. The Spaniards claim him as one 
of their apostles. The Greeks say that he was the brother 
of S. Barnabas, that he was ordained bishop, and died a 


(1ST CENT.) 

[Modern Roman Martyrology. The name of Longinus was not known 
to the Greeks previous to the patriarch Germanus, in 715. It was intro- 
duced amongst the Westerns from the Apocryphal Gospel of Nicodemus. 
There is no reliable authority for the Acts and martyrdom of this saint.] 

The name Longinus, given in the gospel of Nicodemus 
to the soldier who pierced the side of Christ, is probably due 

March i S .] .SV^. Longinus <2f Nicander. 267 

to a mistake. The name is probably Latinized from Longche, 
a spear. Some think that the soldier who pierced the side, 
and the centurion who exclaimed at the earthquake, con- 
fessing the Sonship of Christ, are the same, but there is the 
greatest uncertainty on every point connected with Lon- 
ginus. The Greeks commemorate Longinus the Centurion 
on October 16th. The Latin Acts of S. Longinus confuse 
the centurion and the soldier together. The Greek Acts 
pretend to be by S. Hesychius (March 28th), but are an im- 
pudent forgery of late date. It is pretended that the body 
of S. Longinus was found at Mantua in 1304, together with 
the sponge stained with Christ's blood, wherewith he had 
assisted in cleansing our Lord's body when it was taken 
down from the cross. These relics have been distributed 
in various places. Part are in Prague, others in Carlstein, 
the body in the Vatican at Rome. But the Sardinians assert 
that they possess the body of S. Longinus, which was found 
in their island, where he had suffered under Nero. And the 
Greeks say he suffered in Gabala, in Cappadocia. The 
head is, however, also said to have been found in Jerusalem, 
and carried into Cappadocia. 


(ABOUT A.D. 302.) 
[Roman Martyrology and Greek Menaea.] \ 

S. Nicander flourished in the reign of Diocletian, in 
Egypt He visited the Christian confessors in their 
dungeons, and ministered to their necessities ; and when 
they suffered, he gathered their ashes and bones, and 
reverently buried them. This devotion could not long 
remain unobserved by the heathen, and he was denounced 
to the governor, who sentenced him to death. 

268 Lives of the Saints. [March xi . 


(date unknown.) 

[Three saints of this name are commemorated on this day. At Barce- 
lona one called Virgin and Martyr, another of Thessalonica, in the Roman 
Martyrology, called Martyr, but it is not said that she was a Virgin ; an- 
other at Capua, in Campania, where she is said to be a Virgin and a native 
of Portugal. They were three distinct persons living at different dates, as 
their histories testify, but on account of the names of the Barcelonese and 
Capuan Saints being identical with that of S. Matrona in the Roman 
Martyrology, their festivals are kept on the same day. Matrona of 
Thessalonica is commemorated by the Greeks on March 27th.] 

S. Matrona of Barcelona was early left an orphan 
and was adopted by her aunt, who went with her to Italy, 
and settled in the Campagna. The girl was given a crucifix, 
which she ever carried about with her. Having been 
denounced as a Christian, she was thrown into prison and 
starved to death. 

S. Matrona of Thessalonica was the slave of a Jewess, 
who having discovered that her servant was a Christian, 
beat her to death with a stick. 


(A.D. 752.) 

[Roman Martyrology, and those of Ado, Maurolycus, and Notker, on 
March 14th, so also Molanus in his additions to Usuardus. Authority : 
His life by Anastasius the Librarian.] 

Zacharias, a Greek by birth, the son of Polychronius, 
was educated with care in every science. He went to 
Rome, where he was ordained priest, at a time when the 
eternal city was subject to constant alarms from the 
Lombards. Luitprand, king of the Lombards, ill satisfied 
because Gregory III. extended his favour to Thrasymund, 



March *iJ vS 1 . Zacharias. 269 

duke of Spoleto, laid siege to Rome, and did not retire till 
his troops had pillaged the church of S. Peter, which the 
Goths had hitherto respected. At this moment, just as 
Gregory had asked help of Charles Martel against Luit- 
prand, the see became vacant through his death. 

Zacharias was elected to the throne of S. Peter. The 
innocence of his life, and the vigour of his understanding, 
were accompanied by a natural kindliness which fascinated 
all with whom he was brought in contact He was conse- 
crated on November 19th, 741, nine days after the death of 
his predecessor, and nine days before his interment. Re- 
solved to expose himself to everything for the sake of his 
people, Zacharias sent a nuncio to king Luitprand with a 
letter overflowing with expressions of courtesy and respect, 
which so touched the barbarian, that he gave token ot 
being disposed to negotiate with the new pontiff. Zacharias 
knew how to profit by the opportunity ; he went, accom- 
panied by many of his clergy, to Terni, in Umbria, and met 
king Luitprand, who received him with the utmost courtesy. 
He concluded a treaty with him, released his prisoners, 
recovered to the Holy See the towns that had been taken, 
and on the morrow assisted at the ordination of a bishop 
for Terni, which took place in the Church of S. Valentine. 
The ceremony produced a lively effect upon the Lombards, 
many of whom wept. After the ordination, the pope 
invited the barbarian prince to dinner, and gave him his 
blessing; Luitprand is reported to have observed that he 
had never enjoyed a dinner so much. 

Zacharias was afterwards the means of procuring peace 
for many of the distressed states and cities of Northern 
Italy. Luitprand was succeeded by Hildebrand, who only 
reigned seven months ; and the Lombard throne was then 
filled by Rachis, duke of Forli, who concluded a peace of 
twenty years with all Italy. 



270 Lives of the Saints. [March ij. 

Zacharias now turned his attention to the discipline of 
the Church, which had become much relaxed by the troubles 
that had fallen on the land. He encouraged S. Boniface 
in his mission to Germany. In the East he laboured to 
soften the violence of the emperor Constantine Copronymus, 
who opposed sacred images and pictures in churches. 

Pepin, mayor of the palace, who was master of France, 
under the shadow and name of Child eric III., sent Bur- 
chard, bishop of Wurtzburg, and Fulrad, abbot of S. Denys, 
to Zacharias to consult him on the accomplishment of his 
ambition, the assumption for himself of the crown of France 
from the heads of the "Faineant" race. Zacharias, who 
desired help and protection agakist the Lombards, not 
content with approving his design, wrote secretly to Pepin 
urging him not to refuse the crown which Providence ex- 
tended to him ; at the same time his more cautiously 
worded epistle to the Frank nobles on the subject did not 
a little serve towards determining them to place the sover- 
eignty in the bold, firm hand of the mayor. For, without 
recommending the deposition of Childeric, or the election 
of Pepin, Zacharias urged that " he who had the power in 
fact ought to be the king." This was enough for Pepin. 
Every one considered this expression to be an approval of 
the design ; the election of Pepin was regarded as approved 
by heaven ; and he was crowned at Soissons the year 
following, by Boniface, archbishop of Mentz. This 
coronation took place on May 1st ; Zacharias did not live 
to see it, for he died on the preceding March 3rd. The 
day of his burial in the Church of S. Peter, March 15 th, is 
that on which the Church honours his memory. 


March i6] .S^S". Hilary ; Tatian, Cfc. 271 

March 16. 

SS. Hilary, B.M., Tatian, D.M., Felix, Larqus and DiONVirj^ 

MM. at Aquileja, a.d. 285. 
S. Julian or Anazarbus, M. in Cilicia. 
S. Papas, M. in Lycaonia, circ. a.d. 300. 
S. Agapitus, B. of Ravenna, circ. a.d. 340. 
S. Columba, V.M. in England. 
S. Aninas, H. on the banks of the Euphrates. 
S. Hesychius, B. of Fienne, in France, &th cent, 
SS. Abraham, H., and Mary, P., his niece, in Syria, 6th cent. 
S. Fixan the Leper, Ab. of Iniffathlen, in Ireland, circ. a.d. 610. 
S. Boniface Quiritine, B. of Ross, in Scotland 7/A cent. 
S. Eusebia, Abss. of Hamage, circ. a.d. 680. 

S. Gregory the Armenian, B.H. at Pluviets, in Prance, nth cent. 
S. Heribert, Archb. of Cologne, A.D. 1021. 


(a.d. 285.) 

[Roman Martyrology and that of Usuardus. Notker mentions Hilarj 
alone. Hilary and Tatian in that of Bede, and some copies of that ol 
S. Jerome. Authority : the Acts which are genuine. J 

[AINT HILARY, bishop of Aquileja, in Northern 
Italy, had a deacon named Tatian, whom he 
appointed to be his archdeacon. In the reign 
of Numerian, during which they flourished, 
there was at Aquileja a heathen priest, named Monofantus, 
who went before the governor Beronius, and obtained from 
him authority to hale the bishop before his tribunal. Then 
Monofantus went to the house of Hilary, and found him 
engaged in reading, together with his deacon Tatian. He 
said, "The Governor wants you." Hilary said, "What is 
that you say, friend ?" " I have already said once, the 
governor wants you." S. Hilary answered, " We will go in 
the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ" And when they had 


272 Lives of the Saints. March X 6. 

come to the place of judgment, and the governor saw 
Hilary enter with a smiling countenance, he asked, " What 
is thy name ?" The bishop answered, " My name is Hilary, 
and I am bishop of the Christians here." " Well," said the 
governor, "the command has gone forth that all are to 
sacrifice to the immortal gods. Therefore be speedy, obey, 
and go thy way." S. Hilary replied, " From my childhood 
I have learnt to sacrifice to the living God, and to worship 
Jesus Christ with pure heart; I cannot worship demons." 
The governor said, "Christ, whom thou sayest that thou 
worshippest, was crucified by the Jews." Hilary replied, 
" If thou knewest the virtue of His cross, thou wouldest 
leave the error of idols, and adore Him who would heal the 
wounds of thy soul." " Come," exclaimed the governor, 
" do as I bid, or I will have thy tongue cut out" " Sir," 
answered the bishop, "do so, instead of threatening me." 
Then Beronius had him drawn into the temple of Hercules, 
and beaten with rods. And as Hilary constantly refused to 
adore the idols, the governor ordered his back to be burnt 
with red hot coals, then the raws to be rubbed with coarse 
hair-cloth, and vinegar and salt to be poured into the 
wounds. After which he was taken and cast into prison. 
Tatian, the deacon, was next brought up to be tried, he was 
sentenced to be beaten, and thrown into prison with his 
bishop. And during the night they prayed, and sang 
praises to God, the Lord of heaven and earth ; and as they 
prayed there was an earthquake, and the temple of Hercules 
was shaken down. 

Then, on the morrow, Hilary the bishop, and Tatian the 
deacon, and Felix, Largus and Dionysius, three Christians 
then in the prison, were slain by order of Beronius, some of 
them by having their heads smitten off, and some by having 
swords thrust through their breasts. 

* _ jj, 

March 16.] S. Julian of Anazarbus. 273 

(date uncertain.) 

[Roman Martyrology. Greek Menology of Basil Porphyrogenitus, same 
day. Authority : A sermon by S. John Chrysostom, Horn, xlvii, and the 
notices in the Menologium and Menaea.] 

This saint was a native of Cilicia, the same province 
which had the honour of producing S. Paul. In one of the 
persecutions of the Church he was sentenced to be tied up 
in a sack with vipers and scorpions, and thrown into the 


(ABOUT A.D. 3OO.) 

[Roman Martyrology and Greek Menaea. Authority : The hymn in the 

S. Papas suffered in Lycaonia during the persecution of 
Maximian. He was first beaten, and his cheeks bruised, 
and then the inhuman persecutors, to make sport, nailed 
horse-shoes to his feet, and made him run before chariots 
through the streets of Laranda, the drivers, armed with 
whips, lashing him till he sank, bleeding and exhausted, 
on the pavement. A compassionate woman, like another 
Veronica, hastened up to wipe away the blood and sweat, 
and he died in her arms. 

vol. in. 18 


274 Lives of the Saints. [March X 6. 

(date unknown.) 

[Anglican Martyrology. There are two other saints of this name, virgins 
and martyrs, one at Sens, the other at Cordova. The Columba of Sens is 
commemorated on Dec. 31st, and is very famous; she suffered under Aure- 
lian. The Cordovan saint gained the palm in the Moorish persecution in 
891, and is commemorated on Sept. 17th,] 

The great glory of the virgin martyr, Columba of Sens, 
has eclipsed the fame f the other two saintly virgin martyrs 
of this name. Of the S. Columba venerated in Cornwall 
on this day, nothing is known. 

(date unknown.) 

[Greek Menaea. This saint is commemorated by the Greeks on different 


This hermit, called variously Aninas and Ananias, lived 
in the flat deserts of the Euphrates, in a cave, with two lions, 
out of the foot of one of which he had drawn a thorn 
which hurt it. The lions followed him whenever he went 
to the Euphrates, distant four or five miles, to draw water. 
This he was obliged to do daily, and the bishop of Caesarea, 
hearing of this, sent him the present of an ass to carry the 
water jars for him ; but Aninas would not keep the ass, but 
gave it to some poor folk who were destitute. 

Now there was a hermit who lived on a pillar in the same 
country, and Aninas heard that he was sore troubled in 
mind ; then, the story goes, he wrote a letter comforting 
him, and sent it to him by one of his lions. Aninas died on 
March 16th, at the age of one hundred and ten. 



March .6.] , Abraham & Mary. 275 

(6th cent.) 

[Roman Martyrology, inserted by Baronius, after Molanus ; but the 
Greeks venerate these saints on October 29th. Authority : The Life of 
SS. Abraham and Mary, by Ephraem, the companion of Abraham, but 
not, as has been commonly stated, S. Ephraem Syrus.] 

Abraham was the son of very wealthy parents at Chid- 
ama, in Mesopotamia, near the city of Edessa. His father 
sought a young and beautiful girl in marriage for his son, 
and Abraham was married to her with all the pomp befitting 
the splendour of the rank and wealth and the family. The 
young man had now tasted all that the world could give, 
riches, honour, and love, and his heart was still void and 
craving for something more. Then he felt, with a conviction 
it was impossible to resist, that God alone could fill that 
void, and that satisfaction could alone be found in serving 
Him most perfectly. So, secretly in the night, seven days 
after his marriage, he escaped, and hid himself in the 

His parents, who had refused him nothing for which he 
had expressed a wish, his wife, who had given him no occa- 
sion of offence, were in amazement. They searched for 
him everywhere, and at the end of seventeen days discovered 
him in the desert, resolved to live alone. It was in vain 
that parents and bride urged him to return ; he was inex- 
orable, and they were obliged to leave him in his solitude. 
He had found a small hut, and now he walled up the door, 
leaving only a window, through which bread and water 
could be passed in to him by a friend. He had spent ten 
or twelve years in this retreat when his parents died, and 
left their immense property to him. He entrusted it to the 
care of his most intimate friends, to be used for relieving the 
necessities of the poor. 


276 Lives of the Saints. [March 16. 

Now there was, not far off, a village of idolaters, who had 
stubbornly resisted every missionary effort made to convert 
them. The bishop of Edessa bethought him of Abraham 
the hermit, visited him in person, and insisted on his 
coming forth and preaching to these heathen. In vain did 
the hermit implore to be permitted to remain in his dear 
solitude : the bishop put the matter on his obedience, 
brought him forth, ordained him priest, and sent him 
amongst the pagans. Abraham then built a church in their 
midst, and finding that they were deaf to his exhortations, 
he spent his nights and days in tearful intercession for them, 
and then, armed with zeal, he rushed upon their idols and 
overthrew them. A mob at once assembled, and he was 
beaten till he could not move ; and whenever he appeared 
in the streets, he was assailed with sticks and stones. Unde- 
terred by this opposition, Abraham continued instant in 
prayer; and, after three years, saw the tide of popular 
opinion turn, and the villagers who had treated him so ill, 
now venerated him as an apostle of the truth. Abraham 
tarried with them another year, to confirm them in the faith, 
then commended them to the supervision of the bishop, 
and returned to his cell. Now it happened that a little girl, 
named Mary, the niece of Abraham, had been left an orphan, 
and she was brought to the hermit, as her sole relative, to 
educate. She was aged seven. Abraham bade a cell be 
built for her near his own, and there the child grew up under 
his supervision till she was twenty, when a young man, hav- 
ing conceived a violent passion for her, led her away, and 
then abandoning her, the unfortunate girl fell deeper into 
degradation, and became a common harlot in the city of 
Assos, in the Troad. Her the uncle had bewailed her fall with 
the deepest grief, and had instituted inquiries as to her 
whereabouts. Hearing that she was at Assos, Araham broke 
down the wall which closed his door, and came forth, cast 

t _ >t 


March i6.] .SVS*. Abraham & Mary. 277 

off his habit and sackcloth, and disguising himself as a 
soldier, went to Assos. And when he came there, he hired 
a lodging next door to the house of ill-fame where dwelt his 
niece, and he sought opportunity to meet and speak with 
her, but could not Then he went to the house, and ordered 
supper, and bade that Mary should eat with him. So she, 
knowing him not, lost to shame, came, tricked out with 
necklaces and rings, in gaudy wanton dress. Then Abra- 
ham reddened with grief, and could ill restrain his tears. 
But making an effort, he controlled his emotion. So they 
sat down, and ate, and drank, and she laughed noisily, and 
talked in a light and wanton way ; and as she spake the sha- 
dow on Abraham's brow deepened, the corners of his mouth 
quivered with pain, and a film formed on his eyes. Then 
the girl kissed him, and looked at him, and suddenly saw in 
the grave, suffering face before her, something that recalled 
past days, and she moaned. The man of the house hearing 
this, said, " Mary, what is the matter with thee ? These two 
years that thou hast been with me thou hast been ever gay." 
But she looked up again, and met the tearful eyes of Abra- 
ham ; then she cried out, " Oh, God ! would that I had 
died three years ago. This man recalls to me my dear old 
uncle in the desert, and days of innocence and pure joy." 
Then Abraham put the man forth, and locked the door, and 
turning, threw back his hood, and caught Mary by both 
hands, and looked at her and said, " Mary, my child !" 
Then she knew him, and became cold and motionless as a 
stone. And he said, " My dearest child, what has befallen 
thee? How hast thou sunk from heaven in the abyss 1 O 
why didst thou not disclose to me thy first temptation, and 
I and Ephraem would have besieged heaven with tears and 
prayers to save thee? Why didst thou desert me like this, 
and bring this intolerable anguish of soul upon me ?" But 
she, frightened and trembling, answered not a word. And 

* * 

278 Lives of the Saints. [March 16. 

he, holding her hands fast in his own, said again, " My own 
Mary, wilt thou not speak to me ?" Then his tears burst 
forth, and the whole man was shaken with sobs. " Upon 
me be thy sin, my child," he said ; " I will answer for it at 
the Judgment day to God. I will do penance and suffer in 
expiation of thy crime ; only return, my child I" Then she 
burst forth with, " I cannot look thee in the face, uncle, and 
how can I call on God, whom I have so outraged?" "I 
will bear the burden of the sin, let it weigh on me, Mary," 
said the hermit vehemently ; " only return to the old place, 
and dear Ephraem and I will pray instantly to God for thee. 
Come child, follow me." Then she fell down, and laid her 
brow on his feet, and sobbed, and held them, and kissed 
them, and stammered, " I will follow thee, uncle. What 
reward shall I give unto the Lord for all the benefits He has 
done unto me ?" But he caught her up, and would not suffer 
her thus to lie. And she fell again and kissed the ground 
he had trodden, bringing her hopes of pardon and salvation. 
And he urged her to fly at once. Then she said, " Uncle, I 
have here some valuable trinkets, and some dresses. What 
shall I do with them ? Shall I not pack them up and carry 
them with me ?" But he cried out, " Leave them, leave 
them, they scent of evil." And he took her on his back, as 
a shepherd carrying his strayed sheep, and unlocked the 
door, and ran out. And when he came to his hut, he set 
Mary in the inner cell, and went into the outer room him- 
self. And she, bitterly repenting the past, served God 
instantly, night and day, with tears. Abraham lived ten 
years longer, and rejoiced to behold the sincerity of his 
niece's contrition, and died at the age of seventy, in the 
fiftieth year of his solitary life ; and Mary lived five years 
after her uncle's death. God wrought miracles of healing 
by her hands, to comfort the penitent soul, and assure her 
that her tears had blotted out her transgression. 

>b . %, 


March i6.] ^ Boniface Quiritine, &c. 279 


(7TH CENT.) 

[Aberdeen Breviary. Authorities : David Camcrarius and Hector Boece, 
and the lections in the Aberdeen Breviary.] 

Alban Quiritine, or Kiritine, surnamed Boniface, is 
fabulously said to have been of Israelite race, and a descend- 
ant of Radia, sister of the apostles Peter and Andrew. All 
that is known of him is that he was bishop of Ross, in 
Scotland, and that he laboured to suppress the Keltic ritual 
and to establish Roman uniformity, doing in Scotland the 
work accomplished by S. Wilfrid in Northumbria. He 
preached to and converted large numbers of Picts and Scots? 
during sixty years of evangelical labours. It is said that as 
many as thirty-six thousand received the faith through him, 
and that he built a hundred and fifty churches, amongst 
others, that of S. Peter, at Rosmarkyn, in which he was 
buried before the altar. 

(about a.d. 680.) 

[Molanus, Wyon, Menardus, Miraeus in his * Belgian Saints,' and Saus- 
saye in his Gallican Martyrology. Authority : A life, probably by 
Hucbald of Elnone (907), derived from various earlier accounts and tradi- 

S. Eusebia was the eldest daughter of S. Adalbald, of 
Douai (Feb. 2nd) and S. Richtrudis. Probably on the occa- 
sion of the assassination of her father, she was sent to the 
convent of Hamage, which was governed by her grandmother, 
S. Gertrude. On the death of S. Gertrude, Eusebia, at the 
age of twelve, was elected abbess of Hamage, according to 
a custom of the time, which required abbesses, if possible, 

280 Lives of the Saints. [March X 6. 

to be of noble birth, so as to secure for the convent protec- 
tion from powerful families in times of difficulty or war. 
But S. Richtrudis, who had become abbess of Marchiennes, 
thinking that the girl was far too young to manage the com- 
munity, and that under her light hand grave disorders might 
prevail, peremptorily ordered Eusebia to come with all her 
nuns to Marchiennes. Eusebia hesitated, but when the 
orders were repeated, she reluctantly obeyed, and with all 
the community, bearing the body of S. Gertrude, she came 
to Marchiennes, where they were received by a procession 
with lights and incense. Eusebia was not happy in her new 
home, and sighed for Hamage. During the night, when 
every one slept, she was wont to steal out, barefooted, and 
run to the deserted convent, to watch and pray over the 
home of her infancy, fragrant with memories of a beloved 
guide and spiritual mother. Richtrudis, hearing of these 
nocturnal excursions, and not approving of them, ordered 
the child-abbess a sound flogging, and asked her brother 
Maurontius to administer it. Eusebia writhed and danced 
about under the correction, to elude the blows, and in so 
doing ran against the point of the sword of Maurontius, which 
slightly wounded her side. According to a popular legend, 
which the historian records merely as such, one of the twigs of 
the birch with which Eusebia was corrected, rooted itself on 
the spot where it had fallen, and grew up into a stately tree. 

Richtrudis, seeing that her child continued bent on re- 
turning to Hamage, consulted the bishop, who advised her 
to yield. Accordingly Eusebia and her community went back 
to the deserted convent, and she governed it with prudence, 
living in piety, till the day of her death. She was buried in 
the church of the Apostles, at Hamage ; but the body was 
afterwards translated to Marchiennes. 

In Belgium she is called S. Isoie, or Eusoye. 


March 16.] ,5". Heribert. 28 1 

(a.d. 1021.) 

[German Martyrologies. At Cologne the festival of his translation is 
observed on August 30th. Authority: A Life, by Lambert of Deutz, 
written twenty years after the death of Heribert.] 

Heribert was born at Worms. His father was a gentle- 
man of rank. His mother had been carried off into cap- 
tivity by the Huns, and had been sold to an honest and 
good man, who restored her to her parents. She was grand- 
daughter of Reginbald, count of Swabia. Heribert was 
educated in the abbey of Gorze, in Lorraine, in the diocese 
of Metz. His father having recalled him to Worms, the 
archbishop Hildebald was so pleased with the young man, 
that he made him dean of his cathedral, and destined him 
to become his successor, but his death before Heribert had 
sufficiently established his reputation prevented the fulfil- 
ment of this design. Some years after, Otho III., who had 
not as yet received the imperial crown, having been informed 
of the merit of Heribert, made him his chancellor, and per- 
ceiving his great virtue, obtained his ordination. Shortly 
after, the archdiocese of Cologne became vacant, and this 
gave rise to party contests, productive of schism in that 
Church. The contest was brought to a conclusion by an 
almost unanimous election of the chancellor Heribert. He 
received notice of his having been chosen, with great regret, 
and on his induction, on Christmas-eve, walked barefoot to 
the cathedral. His reign was a true blessing to the diocese, 
through his wise regulations for the maintenance of discip- 
line among the clergy, and for the systematic relief of the 
necessitious. He built and endowed the abbey of Deutz, 
on the opposite bank of the Rhine to Cologne ; he rebuilt 
the church of the Apostles, at Cologne, and the chapel of 
S. Stephen. In a time of great drought, when the country 





Lives of tke Saints. 

[March 16, 

was suffering great distress, and the cattle of the poor were 
perishing, he went in procession to the church of S. Severi- 
nus, and kneeling before the altar, bowed his head on his 
hands, and weeping for the misfortunes of his people, did 
not raise his head till a thunderstorn broke over the church. 

From a painting by Q. Matsys. 



55 ha 

h -a 

Z .9 

O Oh 


72 O 







March I?.] S. Joseph of Arimathea. 283 

March 17. 

S. Joseph of Arimathjsa, \st cent. 

SS. Alexander, B.M., and Companions, MM. at Rome. 

SS. Martyrs in the temple of Serapit at Alexandria, a.d. 390. 

S. Aoricola, B. at Chalons-iur-Saone, a.d. 580. 

S. Patrick, B. Apostle of Ireland, a.d. 465. 

S. Gertrude, V. Abss. of Nivelles, in Brabant, a.d. 664. 

S. Withburoa, V. at Dereham and Ely, a.d. 743. 

S. Paul, M. in Cyprus, circ. a.d. 700. 


(1ST CENT.) 

[Roman Martyrology, inserted by Baronius, because observed as a 
double by the Canons of the Vatican, who possess an arm of the saint. In 
Liege, where other relics are preserved, on Feb. 22nd ; by the Greeks on 
July 31st.] 

flHEN Christ came into the world, one Joseph 
took Him into his arms and cherished Him in 
His infancy; another Joseph received Him 
when He was dead, and ministered to His in- 
animate body. Joseph, a native of Arimathaea, said by S. 
Matthew to have been rich, and called by S. Mark a 
counsellor, appears to have lived in Jerusalem, where he 
possessed a garden. According to S. John, he was a dis- 
ciple in secret of the Son of God ; that he was a just man, 
we are told by S. Luke. After the Crucifixion he cast aside 
the fears which had restrained him from professing openly 
his conviction, and going boldly to Pilate, he craved of him 
the body of Jesus. He then bought the winding sheet, 
and going to Calvary, detached from the Cross the dead 
body of Christ, assisted by S. John the Evangelist, S. Mary 
Magdalene, and Mary the wife of Cleopas. Joseph and 
Nicodemus anointed the body with myrrh and aloes, and 
laid it in the sepulchre of Joseph. 

284 Lives of the Saints. [March 17. 

Many strange traditions have attached themselves to 
Joseph of Arimathaea, as that he came to Britain, and 
planted his staff at Glastonbury ; but as these legends are 
wholly worthless, they must be here passed over. 

His body is said to have been buried by Fortunatus, 
patriarch of Grado, in the abbey of Moyen-Moutier ; but 
no relics of it now remain there, though some are shown 

(a.d. 390.) 

[Roman Martyrology. Authorities : Socrates, Hist. Eccl. lib. v. c. 16; 
Sozomen, lib. vii. c. 15.] 

The temple of Bacchus at Alexandria having been 
given to the Christians to be converted into a church, the 
patriarch ordered its thorough purification. Whilst this was 
being performed, many abominations and much evidence of 
trickery were brought to light This so exasperated the 
pagans that a sedition broke out, and rushing down from 
the Serapion, a magnificent temple situated on a hill and 
fortified, they carried off a number of Christians, and bring- 
ing them into the temple, endeavoured to force them to 
sacrifice to Serapis. As they refused, the pagans crucified 
some, broke the bones of others, and put others to death in 
various ways. When the emperor Theodosius heard of the 
tumult, he ordered those who had fallen victims to be 
enrolled in the number of the blessed, but forbade any 
reprisals upon their executioners, hoping that this exhibition 
of mercy would be efficacious in attracting them to the true 
faith. He, however, ordered the Serapion to be levelled 
with the dust. 


March 17.] .S*. Patrick of Ireland. 285 


(A.D. 580.) 

[Roman and Gallican Martyrologies. Authority : His contemporary, 
Gregory of Tours.] 

S. Agricola was born of a senatorial family. In stature 
he was diminutive, but the greatness of his soul redeemed 
him from that disrespect which his short stature might have 
brought upon him. He was eloquent, of refined manners, 
prudent in judgment. In his youth he formed a warm 
attachment for S. Venantius Fortunatus, the Christian poet, 
and author of the magnificent hymn, Vexilla regis, "The 
royal banners forward go." In 532, he was appointed 
bishop of Chalons-sur-Saone. He died at the age of 
eighty-three, in the year 580, and was buried in the Church 
of S. Marcellus, near Chalons, where his relics are pre- 
served over the high altar. 


(about a.d. 465.) 

[Roman, and almost all Western Martyrologies, Bede, Usuardus, Ado, 
&c. Authorities : The most authentic are S. Patrick's Confession, and 
his letter against Coroticus, Fiech's hymn, or metrical sketch of the life of 
the saint, and the life by Probus. The hymn is attributed to Fiech, bishop 
of Sletty, who lived in the 5th cent. The Bollandists and other critics doubt 
his having been the author of it ; but at any rate it is very ancient, and not 
later than the 7th, or perhaps the 6th cent. Probus is supposed to have 
been teacher of a school at Slane, who was burnt in a tower fired by the 
Danes, in 950. There is also a hymn attributed to Secundinus, one of 
S. Patrick's first companions, in which the saint is spoken of as still living. 
A very interesting document, of the early part of the 7th cent, is a litany in 
Anglo-Saxon characters, published by Mabillon, in which S. Patrick is 
invoked. The Antiphonarium Benchorense, apparently of the 8th cent., 
contains a hymn in honour of S. Patrick. There exist some notes or 
scholia on Fiech's metrical life, which are usually quoted under the title ol 

_ * 

286 Lives of the Saints. [March i. 

Fiech's Scholiast. They were written partly in Irish, and partly in Latin. 
These notes are of various dates, and by different hands, and consequently 
of very different values. Colgan gives some lives, which he calls the 
second, third, and fourth, but these are full of fables, and seem to have 
been copied either from each other, or from some common original. Here 
and there they contain facts, but these are smothered in fable. Colgan is 
utterly wrong in assigning to them a high antiquity. The Tripartite Life, 
so called because it is divided into three parts, is published by Colgan, and 
attributed by him wrongly to S. Evin, who lived in the 6th cent. This 
work, though founded on older lives, was really put together in the ioth 
century, as certain persons are named in it who lived about that period. With 
the exception of certain fables it contains, it is a very useful work, and 
contains a much greater variety of details concerning the proceedings of 
S. Patrick during his mission in Ireland than any other of his lives. It is 
not to be confounded with a Latin work quoted by Usher under the same 
title, and which belongs to a later period. Of all the lives of S. Patrick this 
is the worst, though it has been published oftener than the others. " So 
wretched a composition is scarcely worth attending to," says Dr. Lanigan. 
Another authority is Jocelin of Furness, who flourished about 1185, and 
compiled S. Patrick's life at the request of Thomas, archbishop of Armagh, 
Malachias (another Irish prelate) and John de Courcy, the conqueror of 
Ulster. It is of little historical value compared with the earlier and more 
authentic soures of information, which it not unfrequently contradicts on the 
authority of some idle legend.] 

The precise time at which Christianity was originally 
introduced into Ireland cannot be ascertained. Nor is it 
to be wondered at, that, while the first establishment of 
Christian Churches in Britain, Gaul, and Spain, is enveloped 
in obscurity, a similar difficulty should meet those seeking 
the origin of the Irish Church. Palladius, according to 
Prosper, was the first bishop sent from Rome to Ireland. 
He was a deacon of the Roman Church, who had already 
distinguished himself by his exertions in delivering Britain 
from the Pelagian heresy. From this and other circum- 
stances, it seems probable that he was a native of that 
country. He was consecrated bishop and sent into Ireland, 
accompanied by some missionaries, four of whom, Sylvester, 
Solonius, Augustine, and Benedict, are mentioned by name 
in some of the lives of S. Patrick. It seems that his arrival 

4* >j, 

March ij.] ,5*. Patrick of Ireland. 287 

was early in the year 431. The most authentic accounts of 
his mission agree in stating that, besides having baptized 
some persons, he erected three churches ; and the news of 
his success, perhaps magnified in its transit, excited such a 
confident assurance in Rome of his complete conquest 
of the island to the Cross, that Prosper did not hesitate to 
say that, through the exertion of pope Celestine, Ireland 
was become a Christian country. This book "Against 
Cassian," was written not long after the mission of Palladius, 
and before he had heard of the reverses which that pioneer 
of the Gospel had met with. The success Palladius had 
met with alarmed the heathen, and he was denounced to 
the king of that part of Ireland in which he then was, as a 
dangerous person, and he was ordered to quit the country. 
He sailed from Ireland towards the latter end of the same 
year, 431, in which he had landed, and arriving in Britain, 
died, not long after, as is commonly reported, at Fordun, in 
the district of Mearns, in Scotland. 

The great work of the general conversion of the people 
of Ireland was reserved for the ministry of S. Patrick, 
according to the Irish adage that, " Not to Palladius, but to 
Patrick, did God grant the conversion of Ireland." 

The variety of opinions, and the many questions that 
have been agitated, concerning the country and time of the 
birth of S. Patrick, render it necessary to clear up these 
disputed points before proceeding with the main story of his 
life. It would be a waste of time to examine all the various 
opinions, that have been started on this subject, such as his 
having been bora in Cornwall, in Pembrokeshire, 1 or, what 
is strangest of all, in Ireland itself. The prevalent opinion 
since Usher's time has been that he was born at Kilpatrick, 
near Dumbarton. Usher was led astray by the scholiast on 

1 A Welsh tradition claims S. Patrick as the son of Mawoi of Cower, iu 



288 Lives of the Saints. [March i 

Fiech's hymn. Fiech says that S. Patrick was born at Nem- 
thur (the holy tower) in Britain, and the scholiast identified 
this place with Alcwith, now Dumbarton. The scholiast 
guessed this, not knowing that the term Britain also applied to 
the whole of the North of Gaul, inhabited by the Armorican 
Gauls. 1 Indeed Probus calls S. Patrick's country, and the 
town where his family lived, Arimuric, or Armorica. In the 
life of S. Fursey, we are told that this saint crossed the sea 
into the province of Britain, and proceeded through Pon- 
thieu. Now Ponthieu is a maritime tract in Picardy, near 
Boulogne ; and it is also to be observed that this district is 
said in the life of S. Fursey " to be called by the moderns 
Normandy." But S. Patrick in his confession says, " My 
father was Calpurnius, a deacon, son of Potitus, a priest, of 
the town of Bonavem Taberniae. He had near the town a 
small villa En on, where I became a captive." Bonavem 
(Ben-avon, British, the river headland) may possibly be 
modern Boulogne-sur-mer, and the district of Taberniae be 
Terouanne, in which it is situated. Boulogne was the 
Bonona 2 of the Romans, and its Gallic name Ben-avon, 
exactly describes its situation on the summit of a hill. On 
the very edge of the cliff, a little east of the port, are the 
remains of the tower built by Caligula (a.d. 40), when he 
marched to the shore of the channel with an army of 
100,000 men, boasting that he intended to invade the 
opposite coast of Britain, but contenting himself with 
gathering a few shells, which he called the spoils of the 
ocean. The tower is supposed to have been intended for a 
lighthouse, and its modern name La Tour d'Orde, a cor- 

1 The Morini occupied this part of Gaul ; the name signifies their maritime 
position, as does Armorica, the district "by the sea." The ancient Armorica 
stretched along the whole of the north coast of Gaul ; but the Norman invasion 
and settlement cut the two Celtic peoples of the Bretons and Morini apart. 

2 This name, about the time of Constantine, supplanted the older Latin name of 


S. PATRICK. After Cahier. 

March, p. 288.] 

[March 17. 

# * 

March i 7 .] S. Patrick of Ireland. 289 

ruption of Turn's Ardens, points it out as having been used 
for this purpose. A very good case is, however, made out 
for a site on the Roman Wall, in which case Patrick would 
be the son of one of the Roman colonists or defenders 
of the wall, and a native of Cumberland. In his epistle 
against Coroticus, S. Patrick tells us he was of an honour- 
able family according to the flesh, his father having held 
the office of decurion, which conferred a certain amount 
of nobility. Clerks were not then forbidden to hold 
such offices. He calls the Romans his fellow citizens, and 
this circumstance, coupled with the fact, that the names of 
S. Patrick, of his father, and of his grandfather, are purely 
Latin, points to the conclusion that the family was of 
Roman extraction; but his mother, whose name was 
Conchessa, was the daughter of Erkbalius, or Ocbasius, 

His birth took place about the year 387, for at his 
consecration to the episcopate, a person divulged a fault 
he had committed thirty years before, when a boy of 
fifteen ; and he was consecrated at the end of 431, or the 
beginning of 432 j when the news of the death of Palladius 
reached him. 

When S. Patrick was sixteen years old, Nial Navigiallach, 
or Nial of the Nine Hostages, an Irish king, in ravaging the 
coasts of Great Britain and Gaul, entered the port of 
Bonona, in 403, and carried off S. Patrick and many other 
youths captive. On being brought to Ireland, S. Patrick 
became the servant or slave of a man named Miliac, or 
Milcho, who lived in Dalrhidia, which is now comprised 
within the county of Antrim. Some say that he was a 
prince ; others that he was a magus, that is, invested with 
a religious function ; and others represent him only as a 
rich maa S. Patrick calls his master merely "a man," 

vol. hi. 19 

* * 

* f 

290 Lives of the Saints. March i 7 . 

without adding anything concerning his situation in life. 
With that profound humility, which every line written by 
this truly great saint breathes, he tells us that he had been 
very careless about religion when a boy ; but that, when he 
found himself in the misery of slavery, God opened his eyes 
to behold the wondrous things of His law. His occupation 
was to tend sheep on the wild brown bogs; and amidst 
snow, frost, or rain, he rose before daylight, that he might 
" prevent the day-break" with his prayers. 1 

One night, after he had been in service for six years, as 
he slept, he heard a voice cry to him, " Thou fastest well, 
and soon shalt return to thy country." Presently once 
more the voice said, "Behold, a ship is ready for thee." 
He tells this story himself. Moreover he heard that the 
ship was far off on the coast, a great many miles from where 
he then lived. So he betook himself to flight. " And by 
God's power," he adds, " I came to a good end f and I 
was under no apprehension until I reached the ship. She 
was then clearing out and I asked for a passage. The 
master of the vessel angrily bade me not think of going 
with him. On hearing this I retired to the hut where I had 
been received and lodged, and on my way prayed. But, 
before I had finished my prayer, I heard one of the men 
shouting after me, ' Come along ! they are asking for thee.' 
So I returned immediately. And they said, c Come, we will 
take thee on trust, {i.e., on the chance of getting paid the 

1 An instance of the way in which later writers have amplified the incidents may 
here be given. Probus adds that he diligently perused the psalter and hymns, and 
Jocelin that he read the whole psalter through every day. "As if," says Dr. 
Lanigan, "he could have found books containing them in the North of Ireland at 
that period, or, when suddenly made a prisoner, had time to provide himself with 
religious tracts, or, while still a careless boy, was anxious about them." 

* " Et veni .... ad bonum," according to the Bollandists ought to be " ad 
Beiiam," that is to Bar.try Bay. 



March i7.] S. Patrick of Ireland. 291 

fare on reaching Bononia) ; we are about to sail, and hope 
to reach land in three days.' " 

They at once set sail, and reached the coast of Gaul 
in three days, perhaps in Brittany. They travelled for 
twenty-eight days through a country rendered desolate by 
the ravages of the Franks. Whilst on their way, he and 
his fellow travellers were near perishing for want of food ; 
and then the master of the ship or merchant, who had 
received Patrick and given him a passage, and who was 
now travelling along the same road with his wares, ex- 
claimed, " Christian 1 thy God is powerful. Pray for us, 
for we are starving." The saint desired them to turn with 
faith to the Lord, and he prayed, and suddenly a drove of 
swine appeared crashing through the bushes, and they 
chased and killed many of them, and halted two days to 
recover and refresh themselves. The merchants gave 
thanks to the God of Patrick, and shortly after, finding 
some wild honey, they gave him a part, saying, " This is an 
offering. God be thanked." 

A very curious story of this journey is told by the saint 
in his Confession. Having feasted on the pork, after long 
hunger, the natural result was an attack of night-mare, that 
same night, which he says seemed to him in his dream like 
Satan rolling a great rock upon his chest In an ecstasy of 
fear he screamed out " Elias, Elias !" and thereupon he says, 
" Lo ! the splendour of the sun shone on me, and dispelled 
all the burden on me." Dr. Lanigan says this is evidence 
of his invoking a saint There can be little doubt that 
every well-instructed Christian of the time would have in- 
voked a saint, but it seems probable here that this was not an 
invocation of the prophet Elias, but an invocation common 
perhaps among the heathen and half-converted Roman sett- 
lers, of "Helios !" the sun, which had passed into an exclama- 
tion ; and this will explain the passage which immediately 


* ^ 

292 Lives of the Saints. March 17. 

follows about the sun at once shining upon him. Patrick 
at this time was not well instructed in Christianity, and he 
had been stolen as a thoughtless boy from his home, before 
his education was complete, or his mind had turned to the 
truths of Christianity. In his old age he related this 
anecdote of himself, but it is impossible to conclude from 
the context what he meant by the exclamation. 

S. Patrick reached home about the year 409, and re- 
mained there for a while. He was then aged twenty-two. 
Perhaps it was soon after this that he went to Tours and 
studied for four years. He then returned home to 
Bonona, and was again made captive, probably by a roving 
band of Frank marauders ; but his captivity was of short 
duration, lasting only sixty days. His friends entreated 
him not to leave them, after all he had endured, but he 
relates that he saw in a vision of the night a man named 
Victoricius 1 bringing him a letter, at the head of which 
were the words, "The voice of the Irish." And then he 
thought he heard the cry of many persons from one of the 
Irish forests, where they strayed in darkness and error, 
" We entreat thee, O holy boy, come and walk still in the 
midst of us !" And greatly affected, Patrick awoke. 

About the year 418, he placed himself under the direction 
of S. Germain of Auxerre. After this period it is difficult, if 
not impossible, to arrange correctly the succeeding trans- 
actions of his life, until near the time of his mission. Nine 
years he spent in retirement in an island which has been 
conjectured to be Lerins. It was during the same interval, 
that S. Patrick accompanied S. Germain and S. Lupus of 
Troyes in their spiritual expedition to Great Britain, in the 
year 429, for the purpose of extirpating the Pelagian 
heresy, which had taken root in that island. This is stated 

1 Probably S. Victricius, one of the apostles of the Morini, afterwards bishop 
of Rouen. 

* ^ 

March 17.] , Patrick of Ireland. 293 

in some accounts of S. Patrick's proceedings ; and the lives, 
though they are silent about it, give nothing which might 
tend to invalidate it SS. Germain and Lupus returned to 
Gaul at Easter, in 430. It is very probable that the infor- 
mation which they might have obtained, during their 
residence in Great Britain, concerning the wants of the Irish 
Christians, was communicated to pope Celestine, who 
either had already determined on sending a bishop to 
Ireland, or was advised to do so by these prelates. And 
who was better calculated to take part in this mission than 
Patrick, who had lived six years in Ireland, and had 
acquired a sufficient knowledge of the language of that 
country? In 431, he was sent to Rome by S. Germain, 
recommended by him to the pope as a person fit to be 
employed in the work, of which Palladius was appointed 
the chief. Whether he arrived in Rome before Palladius 
set out, or not long after, cannot be ascertained. From 
the pope he received a benediction for the great mission 
which he was about to undertake ; but he does not appear 
to have received episcopal ordination at Rome, for Pal- 
ladius was already consecrated, and the news of his banish- 
ment had not as yet arrived. It appears, also, from the 
" Confession " of S. Patrick that he was consecrated not 
far from his own country. The account of S. Patrick's 
consecration by Celestine is not to be met with in any of 
the lives except those two compilations of legendary matter, 
Jocelin's and the Tripartite ; whence it made its way into 
certain Brevaries. S. Patrick left Rome either late in 431, or 
early in 432. He was perhaps accompanied by Auxilius and 
Serenus or Iserninus. These were certainly afterwards in 
Ireland with S. Patrick, but whether they accompanied him 
from Rome, or were selected by him from among his 
acquaintance in Gaul, cannot be ascertained ; and it is not 
certain that they came to Ireland till some years later. 

294 Lives of the Saints. [March i. 

We next hear of Patrick at Eboria (Eborica), Evreux, 
where he heard the news of the failure of the mission of 
Palladius. On receiving this information, it became neces- 
sary for him to be consecrated, and for this purpose he 
applied to a bishop resident in the neighbourhood, and 
from him received episcopal orders. His relations and 
friends hurried to Evreux to prevent his ordination ; he 
was insensible to their entreaties, and then, hoping to raise 
a prejudice against him, a friend divulged a fault Patrick 
had committed when a boy. But all their efforts were in 
vain, for God was with him, and had marked him out for 
his great work. 

Everything being arranged, S. Patrick embarked, probably 
at the mouth of the Seine, and had a prosperous voyage to 
Great Britain. According to Probus and some of the lives 
he crossed that country without stopping on the way. 

He landed in Wicklow 6ome time after April in 432. 
Pope Celestine was dead, and Sixtus III. sat in the Chair 
of S. Peter. Having landed, Patrick went to a place in the 
neighbourhood which cannot now be identified, and being 
repulsed by the natives, was obliged again to go on board 
his ship. He landed again at Lecale in the county of 
Down. A herdsman, thinking it was a party of marauders, 
ran to the lord of the district, named Dichu, and informed 
him of the arrival of a party of strangers. Dichu armed his 
retainers and hasted to the shore, but the peaceable 
appearance of the missioners disarmed him, and he brought 
them to his house, which was at the place now called Saul, 
and hospitably entertained them. There the saint had an 
opportunity of announcing to him the Christian faith, and 
Dichu was the first-fruits of his mission. All his family 
followed his example, and likewise became Christians ; and 
S. Patrick celebrated divine worship in the barn of Dichu, 
which in after times became known as Sabhall Padruic, or 

* : j, 

March 17.] ,5, Patrick of Ireland. 295 

the Barn of Patrick; and in after years it was converted 
into a church, and a monastery was attached to it 

S. Patrick did not remain many days at the house of 
Dichu, and left his ship or boat in the care of this new 
convert, until he should return. He then set out by land 
for the place where his old master, Milcho, lived. He was 
an obstinate unbeliever, and on hearing of S. Patrick's ap- 
proach, was determined not to see and receive him. 1 

S. Patrick, finding his efforts for the conversion of Mil- 
cho unavailing, returned to the district in which Dichu 
resided, and remained there for several days, preaching the 
Gospel with great success. One of his principal converts 
on this occasion was Ross, son of Trichem, who lived near 
the present town of Downpatrick. In this neighbourhood 
he met a youth, called Mochoe, whom, after instruction, he 
baptized and tonsured, thus dedicating him to the ecclesias- 
tical state. He also gave him the book of the Gospels and 
some sacred vessels. This must not, however, be under- 
stood as having all taken place during the present stay of S. 
Patrick at Lecale. 

S. Patrick resolved on celebrating the Easter of 433 neai 
Tarah, where the princes and nobles of the whole kingdom 
were to be assembled about that time. He, therefore, left 
his friend and convert, Dichu, and sailing southwards, 
arrived at Colp, in the mouth of the Eoyne, and leaving his 
boat there, set out with his companions on foot for the plain 
of Bry, in which the city of Tarah was situated. On their 
way they passed the night in the house of a man of sub- 
stance, named Seschuen, who became obedient to the faith, 

1 An instance of the rodomontade of some of the later lives may be quoted here. 
They say that to escape S. Patrick's persuasive eloquence only one way lay open 
to him, to set fire to his house and furniture and property, and precipitate himself 
into the flames. As a specimen of the absurdity of some of the legends, the 
following will suffice. A robber stole one of S. Patrick's goats and ate it. S 
Patrick called his goat, and it bleated to him out of the man's belly. 


296 Lives of the Saints. [March u. 

and was baptized, with all his house, by S. Patrick. A son 
of his, whom at his baptism our saint, considering his sweet 
disposition, called Benignus, became so attached to him 
that he insisted on accompanying S. Patrick, and he became 
one of the saint's most favourite disciples, and was after- 
wards consecrated archbishop of Armagh. It is not, how- 
ever, to be supposed that the baptism of Seschuen and his 
family was accomplished on that occasion, but probably 
took place after the Paschal solemnity, which was near at 

On Easter-eve, S. Patrick arrived at Slane. He pitched 
his tent, and made preparations for celebrating the festival 
of Easter, and accordingly lighted the Paschal fire about 
night-fall. It happened that at this very time the king Leo- 
gaire (Lear) and the assembled princes were celebrating a 
religious festival in honour of the return of the sun to power 
and heat. Part of the ritual of this festival consisted in 
every fire being extinguished for some days previous, that all 
might be relighted from the sacred fire in the palace or 
temple of Temora, on Tarah hill, which was kindled on a 
certain day, now near at hand. Twilight had settled over 
the great plain, and all men waited for the red flame to 
shoot up on Tarah hill, a signal that the festival was begun, 
and that all might rekindle their hearth fires from the conse- 
crated blaze. But a spark shone out far away on the plain, 
from the tent of Patrick, and consternation at this sacrilege 
and infringement of precedent became general. The king 
at once galloped to Slane, followed by a crowd, and accom- 
panied by two priests, who assured him that unless this fire 
were extinguished, it would overpower their fires, and bring 
the kingdom to its downfall. On arriving within a short 
distance of the tent and fire, the king dismounted, seated 
himself, ordered his followers to seat themselves, and not to 
rise or show any respect to the violator of their laws, and 



March i?.] S. Patrick of Ireland. 297 

then ordered Patrick to be brought before him. On his 
presenting himself, one alone rose and saluted him, breaking 
the king's command ; this was the little lad Here, son of 
Drogo, and the saint thereupon blessed him. He was after- 
wards bishop of Slane, and celebrated for his sanctity. He 
was ordered to declare his object in coming to Ireland, and 
contend with the wise men, or priests, next day. On Easter- 
day, therefore, he preached before the king and his nobles, 
and strove with the captious objections of the Wise-men. 
It was then, probably, when explaining the mystery of the 
Trinity, and when questioned as to the triple Personality of 
the One God, that he stooped and plucked a shamrock, and 
exhibited it as a symbol of the Catholic doctrine of the 
Triune God. 1 

Passing over certain contests between S. Patrick and the 
Wise-men, which are absurd parodies of those between 
Moses and the Egyptian enchanters, we find Dubtach, an 
eminent bard, boldly submitting to the faith, and dedicating 
his poetic talents to Christ. Some of his works are still ex- 
tant. The king was not converted, but he permitted Patrick 
to preach freely the Word of God. From Tarah the saint 
proceeded to Tailten, where public games were celebrated ; 
and it seems that the chiefs lately assembled for the religious 
solemnity at Tarah had adjourned thither. The apostle 
preached to Carlre, a brother of Leogaire, but was badly 
received by him. The conduct of Conall, another brother, 

1 Jocelin tells some absurd stories about his contest with the Magi or Wise-men. 
He relates how that one of them, Lochu, a great friend of the king, to show the 
power of his religion, rose in the air, as though ascending to the skies. Then 
Patrick prayed, and angelic hands flung a snow-ball at him out of heaven, which 
knocked him down, head foremost, on a sharp stone at Patrick's feet, and that was 
the end of him. Another miracle was as follows : A house was built, one-half of 
green wood, the other of dry timber. A Magus was vested in S. Patrick's chasuble, 
and placed in the green wood part of the house ; and Benignus in the Magus's 
habit in that part which was of dry wood. The house was set on fire. The green 
timber was burnt, with the Magus, but not the chasuble; the dry timber would not 
burn, and Benignus escaped, only his coat was reduced to ashes. 


298 Lives of the Saints. [March 17. 

was different; he listened to S. Patrick with delight, be- 
lieved, and was baptized. To this memorable Easter week, 
which was the first that occurred since the saint's arrival 
on his mission, must be referred the origin of the festival 
of "S. Patrick's Baptism," anciently held in Ireland on 
April 5 th. 

Henceforth it becomes extremely difficult and next to im- 
possible to arrange, with chronological accuracy, the subse- 
quent transactions of S. Patrick's mission. After having 
celebrated Easter week, he set out on the following Monday 
for other places in Meath, in which he seems to have passed 
a considerable time. He tells us in his Confession, that to 
gain the goodwill of the chieftains, he used to make presents 
to them, and take some of their sons with him to educate 
them. When on the point of quitting for some time these 
parts of Ireland, after having established many flourishing 
colonies of Christians, and ordained priests to minister to 
them, he turned a little northward for the purpose of de- 
stroying the Crom-cruach (crooked-heap), a monument dedi- 
cated to the sun ; probably a great Druidical pile of stones, 
superposed on uprights, standing in a plain near Feanagh, 
in the county of Leitrim. After this, probably in 435, he 
set out for Connaught, and crossing the Shannon, arrived at 
Dumha-graidh. where a remarkable incident occurred. 

As he was advancing into the plain of Connaught, he 
stopped with his companions at a fountain near the royal 
residence Cruachan (now Croghan, near Elphin), and at 
break of day began to chant the praises of the Lord. 

Ethnea the fair, and Fethlima the ruddy, daughters of 
king Leogaire, were there, and had come very early to the 
fountain for the purpose of washing themselves, when, look- 
ing up, they saw men clothed in white garments, holding 
books in their hands, advance, chanting. The damsels, 
full of wonder, asked them what manner of men they were, 

4. * 

March i.j S. Patrick of Ireland. 299 

and Patrick seized the opportunity of announcing to them 
the true God. They asked him many strange questions, as 
to where God dwelt, whether he was rich, and young or old, 
and how he was to be revered ; and Patrick explained to 
them the principal truths of the Christian religion in answer 
to their questions. Delighted with his discourse, they de- 
clared themselves ready to adopt this new and wondrous 
creed, so beautiful and awful, and besought the stranger to 
instruct them further. He did so, and on their having pro- 
fessed their belief in the doctrines he had propounded, he 
baptized them. Then they told him that they desired to 
see, face to face, that dear Lord who had come on earth for 
them on Mary's knee, and had died on Calvary top so cruel 
a death ; so Patrick explained to them that great answer of 
the heart of Jesus to the heart of man, crying to see Him 
the Eucharistic Presence. 

" Give us the Sacrifice of the Body and Blood of Christ," 
they asked, " that we may be freed from the corruption of 
the flesh, and see our Spouse who is in heaven." 

Then S. Patrick celebrated Mass, and communicated 
them. He proceeded west to Sligo and Roscommon, mak- 
ing many converts, and building several churches, to which 
he attached priests. In Lent, he ascended Croagh Aigle, 
now Croagh Padrig, in Mayo, for meditation and prayer. 
He preached at Firawley to an assembly of seven princes, 
and baptized them and 1,200 of their subjects. Passing 
through North Connaught, he continued his course through 
West Cashel, to Ulster. Thus ended his mission in Con- 
naught, which lasted seven years. In 443, he entrusted 
bishop Secundinus, who, with Iserninus and Auxilius, had 
received consecration in Great Britain or Gaul, with the 
oversight of his converts in Meath and North Ireland, while 
he went on a mission through East Leinster and Munster. . 

In Leinster he baptized two princes. In Wicklow he was 

300 Lives of the Saints. [March x. 

ill-received by prince Deichin, but was hospitably enter- 
tained by Killan, a poor man, who slew his only cow to feed 
Patrick and his followers. Dubtach having recommended 
Fiech, his pupil in bardic lore, as a fit person for ordination, 
Fiech received the tonsure and books for study from S. 
Patrick, and afterwards became chief bishop of the dis- 
trict, and fixed his seat at Sletty. 

Entering Munster, in 445, S. Patrick went straight to 
Cashel ; and the king came forth to meet him. His son 
Aengus was converted, and afterwards baptized, when he 
came to the throne on the death of his father. During the 
performance of the Sacrament, as the bishop raised his 
hands above the head of the king, he allowed his pastoral 
staff to fall unintentionally on the foot of Aengus, and the 
sharp point wounded him. The king made no remark, but 
bore the pain without flinching, supposing this act formed a 
portion of the ceremony. 1 

S. Patrick here made many converts. He spent seven 
years in Munster, and set out, in 432, to return to Leinster. 
He was followed by many chieftains, and by much people, 
desiring his parting blessing, and to take a last look of the 
dear face of him who had brought them out of darkness 
into the clear light of the glorious Gospel of Christ Moved 
by their love, Patrick ascended a hill, and spreading forth 
his arms, gave his apostolic benediction to the whole of 
Munster. Thus was he parted from their sight in the act 
of blessing, like to his Divine Master, who ascended out of 
His disciples' sight, with his hands extended in benediction. 

During his stay in Munster, Secundinus had died, the 
first bishop who had expired in Ireland. An alphabetical 
hymn, in honour of S. Patrick is, with good reason, attri- 
buted to him. 

1 This was too good a story for Jocelin not to spoil it. So he relates, In contra- 
diction to the other historians, that the king felt no pain, and the wound wa 
miraculously healed on S. Patrick resuming his staff. 



March rj.] , Patrick of Ireland. 301 

About the same time also, Cerotian, or Caradoc, a Welsh 
prince, made a descent on the coast, and carried off cap- 
tives. This called forth from S. Patrick a letter, which is 
still extant The particulars of this inroad have been 
elsewhere related (March 23rd, S. Fingar), and need not be 
repeated here. 

Neither need we repeat here the escape of S. Patrick 
from a chieftain in Leinster who sought his death, through 
the generous self-sacrifice of his charioteer, Odran (Feb. 

When S. Patrick reached Sabhall, his favourite retreat in 
Ulster, he would not take that rest he so much needed, but 
spent his time in completing the conversion of the natives, 
and building churches. But the time had come for fixing 
on a spot for a metropolitan see. He, therefore, went 
through the land, and coming into the district where is the 
present Armagh, a man, named Macka, offered him a site 
on an eminence. There he built a church and a monastery. 
A legend in the Book of Armagh is too good not to be 
true; it could hardly have been invented. According to 
this book, the owner of the hill was one Daeri, and Patrick 
having set his heart on the site, asked for it ; but it was re- 
fused, and a portion of the valley offered him instead. One 
day the noble brought to S. Patrick a large cauldron of 
foreign manufacture, and presented it to him, saying, 
" There ! this cauldron is thine." " Gratias agam (I thank 
thee)," answered the saint in Latin. Daeri went home mut- 
tering, " What a fool that fellow is to say only ' Gratzacham,' 
for a wonderful cauldron containing three firkins. Ho ! 
slaves, go and fetch it back to me again." So the thralls 
went and brought back the vessel. " Well, what said he to 
you, churls ?" " He said 'Gratzacham ' again," they replied, 
" Gratzacham when I give, and Gratzacham when I take 
away ! The saying is so good, that for these Gratzachams 



2,02 Lives of the Saints. [March 17. 

he shall have his cauldron back again. Ho ! slaves, take 
the vessel back to Patrick." Daeri accompanied the caul- 
dron, and praised the saint for his imperturbable self-posses- 
sion ; and then, in a fit of good-nature, gave him the hill 
which he had at first refused him. Patrick went forth to 
view the site, and found a roe with her fawn lying on the 
place where the altar of the Northern Church now is. His 
companions would have killed it, but the saint raised the 
fawn and laid it on his shoulders, and the roe trotted after 
him, till he laid the fawn down in another place. 

He held two Synods at Armagh, at which canons for the 
whole of Ireland were drawn up. 

S. Patrick having thus established the see of Armagh, 
spent the remainder of his life between it and his favourite 
retreat of Sabhul or Saul. He may have made excursions 
to some of the districts adjacent to both places ; but we do 
not find any account that can be depended upon, of his 
having thenceforth visited again the other provinces of 
Ireland, much less of having undertaken any long journey. 
For we are not to listen to Jocelin, who says that he then 
set out for Rome with the intention of getting the privileges 
of the new metropolis confirmed by the Holy See ; and that 
when he arrived there, the pope decorated him with the 
pallium, and appointed him his legate in Ireland. This 
pretended tour to Rome, and the concomitant circumstances 
are all set aside by the testimony of S. Patrick himself, who 
gives us to understand that from the commencement of his 
mission he constantly remained in Ireland, until he pub- 
lished his Confession, which was not written till after the 
foundation of Armagh ; and that he did not leave it after- 
wards is equally plain, from his telling us that he was afraid 
to be out of Ireland even for as much time as would serve 
for paying a visit to his relations, because in that case he 
would be disobeying the orders of Christ, who had com- 

March im .S*. Patrick of Ireland. 303 

manded him to stay among the Irish for the remainder of 
his life. 

A singular fact is related as having occurred about the 
time of the building of Armagh, which shows how strictly 
the fasting rules were observed by the ancient Irish. One 
of the disciples of S. Patrick, named Colman, having been 
one day greatly fatigued by getting in the harvest, became 
exceedingly thirsty, but from fear of breaking the rule of 
fasting till vesper-time, would not taste a drop of water. 
The consequence was that he died of exhaustion. Had 
the saint been apprized of the danger in which Colman was, 
he would certainly have dispensed with his observance of 
the rule on this occasion. 

At length we come to the last days of S. Patrick. In his 
extreme old age he wrote his Confession, and he seems to 
have felt that his dissolution was close at hand, for he con- 
cludes with these words : " And this is my confession before 
I die " ; and provides how the work is to be carried on after 
his death. He had been through every province of Ireland, 
and he speaks of the bulk of the nation as then Christian, 
and of his having ordained clergy everywhere. His object 
in writing it was to return thanks to the Almighty for his 
singular mercies to himself and to the Irish people, and to 
confirm them in their faith, by proving that God had assisted 
him in a most remarkable way. He also wished that all the 
world, and particularly his relatives or* the continent, who 
had so urgently opposed his going to Ireland, should know 
how that the Almighty had prospered his handiwork. For 
this reason he composed his book in Latin, apologizing, 
however, for the rudeness of the style ; for his long sojourn 
in Ireland, and constant use of the Erse language, had 
blunted his ease in expressing himself in his native tongue. 

He was at Saul when attacked with his last illness. Per- 
ceiving that his departure was at hand, he desired to go to 


J< >f 

304 Lives of the Saints. [March 17. 

Armagh, there to breathe his last and lay his bones. But he 
is said to have been arrested on his way thither by an angel, 
who ordered him to return to Saul. Be this as it may, to 
that place he went back, and there he died seven days after, 
on the 17th March, a.d. 465. x In Fiech's hymn we read 
that his soul joined that of another Patrick, and that they 
proceeded together to heaven. In this singular passage the 
author alludes to a second Patrick, who, as he supposed, 
died just about the same time. Who this Patrick was we 
do not know. 

It is curious to notice a mistake which has crept into some 
martyrologies, where we find a Patrick, bishop of Avernia, 
or Auvergne, mentioned on March 16th. But no such a 
Patrick is known in Auvergne ; and this Patrick is simply 
due to a mistake of some copyist, who wrote Avernia for 
Hivernia or Hibernia, and so got his name into the martyr- 
ologies as a separate saint, and, to avoid confusion, this 
Patrick of Auvergne was placed on a different day. 

There was also, or was supposed to be, a Patrick Senior, 
who is commemorated on August 4th. This Patrick, accord- 
ing to Ranulph of Chester (Polychronicron, lib. v. c. 4) was 
an Irish abbot, who in 850 retired to Glastonbury, and there 
died on the 25 th of August. But that being S. Bartholo- 
mew's day there, his festival was put back to the day before. 
A great confusion arose, partly from this and partly from S. 
Patrick being spoken of in the Annals as Sen Patrick, or 
Senex Patrick, the old man Patrick, dying in 45 8. 2 Now, 
some of the writers of the Lives were determined to give 
to S. Patrick a long life, equal to that of Moses, just as they 
made the contest of Moses and the magicians a model for 
a contest of Patrick and the Wise-men ; so they made this 

1 This Is the date assigned by Dr. Lanigan. Dr. Todd is certainly wrong in giv- 
ing 493- 

* And in some of the most ancient lives, which speak of S. Patrick at the end of 
his career as Sen-Patrick, the old man Patrick. 

* 4* 

March 17.] S. Patrick of Ireland. 305 

Sen Patrick into a Patrick the elder, distinct from the great 
apostle. And this mistake has found its way into the cata- 
logues of the archbishops of Armagh, which has, besides 
S. Patrick, a namesake of his surnamed Senior. But this 
subject has been further obscured by the fables concerning 
Glastonbury, as the monks there, having a body of a Patrick 
of Ireland, supposed or pretended that it was the body of 
the great S. Patrick, and they asserted that he had come 
over to Glastonbury, and had died and been buried there. 
The Irish writers finding themselves puzzled by these Glas- 
tonbury stories, and unwilling to allow the Glastonians the 
honour of having among them the remains of S. Patrick, 
endeavoured to compromise the matter by giving them, in- 
stead of the apostle, Sen- Patrick, or Patrick Senior. This, 
however, was not what those monks wished for. They 
insisted on having the right S. Patrick, and him alone they 
understood by the name of Patrick Senior. 

As soon as the news of the saint's death had spread 
throughout Ireland, the clergy nocked from all quarters to 
celebrate his funeral. This they did with extraordinary 
pomp and great profession of lights, insomuch that for a 
considerable time, during which the obsequies were con- 
tinued, both day and night, we are told, darkness was dis- 
pelled, and the whole time seemed one continuous day. 
This expression of the ancient hymn of Fiech has given 
source to a legend that on this eventful occasion the sun 
went not down, but real daylight lasted for the whole func- 
tion. It is said that a furious contest was very near breaking 
out concerning the place in which S. Patrick's remains should 
be deposited. To prevent bloodshed, matters were provi- 
dentially so managed that his body was interred at Down. 
It is said to have been discovered and translated in 11 85. 

In art, S. Patrick is usually represented expelling serpents 
and other reptiles from the island with his pastoral staff, or 

vor.. in. 20 


306 Lives of the Saints. [March i>. 

holding a shamrock leaf. He is said to have had the golden 
rod of Jesus, given him by a hermit in Gaul, wherewith he 
smote and slew the Peishta-More, or Monster of the Lakes, 
and this is also frequently represented in art. 

(a.d. 664.) 

[Roman Martyrology, and those of Bede, Usuardus, and Ado. German, 
Gallican, and Belgian Martyrologies commemorate the elevation of her 
relics on Feb. 10th ; and the translation on May 30th and April 10th. 
Authorities : A Life, by an eye-witness of her acts, apparently a canon or 
chaplain of the monastery. He says, " I have endeavoured in writing to 
narrate what I have seen myself or heard from trustworthy witnesses." 
Another Life, written in polished style from the testimony of Rinchin, an 
acquaintance of S. Gertrude.] 

S. Gertrude was the daughter of the B. Pepin of Lan- 
den (Feb. 21st) and S. Itta or Iduberga (May 8th). Her 
brother, Grimoald, succeeded her father. Her sister, S. 
Begga (Dec. 17th), who married duke Ansigis, and became 
the mother of Pepin, the father of Charles Martel. S. Alde- 
gund (Jan. 30th), and S. Waltrudis (April 9th), the wife of 
S. Vincent (July 14th), were also relatives of hers. 

Dagobert, king of the Franks, who had made Pepin of 
Landen mayor of the palace, asked him to allow him to 
give Gertrude in marriage to a young Frank nobleman. 
The father hesitated, knowing that his daughter desired to 
lead the religious life, and the king seeing his reluctance 
to force his daughter to a match for which she was not 
inclined, sent for Gertrude herself, then aged about ten, and 
endeavoured to persuade her to accept the hand offered her. 
But Gertrude resolutely refused, declaring that she would 
have no other bridegroom but Jesus Christ. The king dis- 
missed the child, and she returned to her mother, who 


March, p. 306.] [March 17. 

March 17.] S. Gertrude. 307 

educated her in the love and fear of God. On the death of 
Pepin, in 646, Iduberga, following the advice of S. Aman- 
dus, bishop of Maestricht, built the celebrated convent of 
Nivelles, and retired into it with her daughter, then aged 
fourteen. They were soon followed by a numerous com- 
pany of maidens, and a community was formed, to which 
the blessed Iduberga gave rules. The sisters were called 
canonesses, and Iduberga appointed her daughter abbess. 
Thus the mother obeyed the child. The holy woman spent 
twelve years in this peaceful retreat, and died in the odour 
of sanctity. After her mother's death, Gertrude made some 
alterations in the community. She instituted canons, who 
should attend to the temporal affairs of the house, whilst 
she devoted herself to the internal government of the 
sisterhood, and their spiritual training. For this latter pur- 
pose Gertrude devoted herself especially to the study of 
Holy Scripture, and nearly learnt the whole by heart She 
also built hospitals for the reception of pilgrims, widows, 
and orphans, and entrusted the discipline of them to the 
canons and canonesses of her community. 

After having spent many years in the practice of every 
virtue, feeling a great langour come over her, so that she 
was unable to discharge her duties with that activity which 
had been so conspicuous in her government of the house, 
she resigned the office of superior, and created her niece, 
S. Wilfetrudis, abbess in her place. Wilfetrudis was aged 
twenty ; she had been brought up by S. Gertrude, who had 
made of her a mirror of perfection. Gertrude now re- 
doubled her austerities, wore a rough horse-hair shirt, and 
adopted an old veil which a nun who had lodged in the 
convent, on her way elsewhere, had left behind her, deeming 
it too poor to be worth preserving. Gertrude cast it over 
her, and bade the sisters bury her in it when she was dead. 
When she felt that her hour was approaching, she sent one 

*b j, 

308 Lives of the Sai?its. [March i. 

of her canons to the monastery of Fosse, in the diocese of 
Lie'ge, to ask S. Ultan, brother of SS. Fursey and Forillan, 
when she must die. The saint replied to the messenger, 
" To-morrow, during the celebration of the holy Mass, Ger- 
trude, the spouse of Jesus Christ, will depart this life, to 
enjoy that which is eternal. Tell her not to fear, for S. 
Patrick, accompanied by blessed angels, will receive her 
soul into glory." And it was so, that after she had received 
extreme unction, and the priest was reciting the prayers 
before the preface in the holy Sacrifice, on the morrow, 
the second Sunday in Lent, she breathed forth her pure 

Her relics are preserved to this day at Nivelles, together 
with a goblet (Patera Nivigellensis), in which the custom to 
drink to the honour of S. Gertrude (Sinte Geerts-Minne). 
From the saint having established large hospices for the 
reception of pilgrims and travellers, whom she entertained 
with great liberality, arose the custom of travellers drinking 
a stirrup cup to her honour before starting on their journey. 
She became the patroness of travellers. Then, by a curious 
popular superstition, she was supposed to harbour souls on 
their way to paradise. It was said that this was a three 
days' journey. The first night they lodged with S. Gertrude, 
the second with S. Gabriel, and the third was in Paradise. 
She, therefore, became the patroness and protector of de- 
parted souls. Next, because popular Teutonic superstition 
regarded mice and rats as symbols of souls, the rat and 
mouse became characteristics of S. Gertrude, and she is 
represented in art accompanied by one of these animals. 
Then, by a strange transition, when the significance of the 
symbol was lost, she was supposed to be a protectress 
against rats and mice, and the water of her well in the crypt 
at Nivelles was distributed for the purpose of driving away 
these vermin. In the chapel of S. Gertrude, which anciently 

} J< 

March i7.] , Witkburgd. 3O9 

stood in the enclosure of the castle of Moha, near Huy, 
little cakes were distributed, which were supposed to banish 
mice. For long the right to distribute these cakes belonged 
to the Jesuits ; after the suppression of that order, the 
Augustinians of Huy usurped the right, but it was resisted 
by the cure of Moha, who claimed the privilege as belong- 
ing to the parochial clergy. The chapel was destroyed at 
the French Revolution, and with it the custom disappeared. 
In order to explain the significance of the mouse in pic- 
tures of S. Gertrude, when both of these meanings were 
abandoned, it was related that she was wont to become so 
absorbed in prayer that a mouse would play about her, and 
run up her pastoral staff, without attracting her attention. 


(A.D. 743.) 

[Some ancient martyrologies, others on July 8th. Authority: The Ely 
Chronicle, and a Life supposed to be by Goscelin, the historian of S. Wer- 

The royal race of the Uffings of East Anglia was remark- 
able for the crowd of saints which it produced. King 
Anna, who married the sister of Hilda, the celebrated abbess 
of Whitby, became father of three daughters and a son. 
The son became in his turn the father of three daughters, 
two of whom were in succession abbesses of Hackness in 
Northumbria, founded by their grand-aunt S. Hilda, and 
the last, Eadburga, became abbess of Repton. 

The three daughters of Anna, Etheldreda, Sexburga, 
and Withburga are all counted among the saints. With- 
burga was sent into the country to be nursed, and remained 
there till she heard, while still quite young, of her father's 
death on the battle-field. She resolved immediately to seek 


310 Lives of the Saints. [March i*. 

a refuge for the rest of her life in claustral virginity. She 
chose as her asylum a modest remnant of her father's lands 
at East Dereham, in Norfolk, and there built a little monas- 
tery. But she was so poor that she, her companions, and 
the masons who built her future dwelling, had to live on dry 
bread alone. One day, after she had prayed long to the 
blessed Virgin, she saw two does come out of the neigh- 
bouring forest to drink at a stream whose pure current 
watered the secluded spot. Their udders were heavy with 
milk, and they permitted themselves to be milked by the 
virginal hands of Withburga's companions, returning every 
day to the same place, and thus furnishing a sufficient supply 
for the nourishment of the little community and its work- 
men. This lasted till the ranger of the royal domains, a 
savage and wicked man, who regarded with an evil eye the 
rising house of God, undertook to hunt down the two help- 
ful animals. He pursued them with his dogs across the 
country, but, in attempting to leap a high hedge, his horse 
was impaled on a post, and the hunter broke his neck. 

Withburga ended her life in this poor and humble soli- 
tude ; but the fragrance of her gentle virtues spread far and 
wide. The fame of her holiness went through all the sur- 
rounding country. The veneration given to her by the people 
of Norfolk was maintained with the pertinacity common to 
the Anglo-Saxon race, and went so far that, two centuries 
after her death, they armed themselves to defend her relics 
from the monks of Ely, who came, by the king's command, 
to unite them to those of her sisters at Ely. 

There still exists at East Dereham a well bearing the 
name of S. Withburga. It is fed by a spring rising in the 
very place where the saint's body was laid before its transla- 
tion to Ely. 

>i- , , 

March 17.] 

S. Paul. 



S. PAUL, M. 

(ABOUT A.D. 760.) 

[Roman Martyrology and Greek Menology. Authority : The Acts of 
S. Stephen the junior (Nov. 28th).] 

In the furious persecution waged by Constantine Coprony- 
mus against images and those who reverenced them, Paul, 
a Cypriot, was brought before the governor of that island, 
Theophanes Lardotyrus, and was ordered to choose whether 
he would stamp on a crucifix laid before him, or suffer torture 
on the rack. In answer, he stooped and kissed the image of 
his Master, saying, " Far be it from me, Lord Jesus Christ, 
only begotten Son of God, to trample on Thy sacred repre- 
sentation." He was at once stripped, pressed between two 
boards, his body torn with iron combs, and then hung 
head downwards over a fire, which was heaped about him, 
till he was consumed. 

i'ortioii of a Monstrance. 



312 Lives of the Saints. [March i*. 

March 18. 

S. Gabriel the Archangel. 

S. Alexander, M.B. of Jerusalem, a.d. 250. 

SS. Ten Thousand Martyrs, at Nicomedia, 4th cent. 

SS. Tkophimus and Eucarpus, MM. at Nicomcdia, circ. A.D. 300. 

SS. Narcissus, B.M., and Felix, D.M. at Gerona, beginning of \th 

S. Cyril, Patr. of Jerusalem, a.d. 389. 
S. Frigidian or Finnian, B. of Lucca, a.d. 589. 
S. Tetricus, B. of Langres, a.d. 572. 
S. Edward, K.M. in England, a.d. 978. 
S. Anselm, B. of Lucca, a.d. 1086. 


j]N this day is commemorated Gabriel the Arch- 
angel, who was sent to announce to the Blessed 
Mary that she was to become the Mother of 
God. He is commemorated in the Roman 
Martyrology, and in those of the Camaldoli, the Trinitarians, 
the Franciscans, the Carmelites, the Augustinians, the Dis- 
calceate Carmelites, and the Servites. 

(a.d. 250.) 

[Usuardus, Ado, Notker, some editions of the Martyrology of Bede ; 
Roman Martyrology. By the Greeks on December 12th. In the Breviary 
of the Knights of S. John of Jerusalem, this festival is observed with nine 
lections. His life is gathered from the ecclesiastical Hist, of Eusebius.] 

Alexander, a Cappadocian bishop, having come to 
Jerusalem to venerate the holy places, was elected by reve- 
lation of God to take the see of Jerusalem in place of 
Narcissus, who, on account of his extreme old age, was 

4* . . . _* 

March i8j , Narcissus. 3 1 3 

unable to execute the functions of his office. In the perse- 
cution of Decius, when Alexander was advanced in years, 
with white hair, he was conducted to Caesarea, where he 
was imprisoned, and died in his dungeon. 



[Roman Martyrology. Authority: The "Conversio" of S. Afra, 
which existed in the ninth century, but of no historical value.] 

Narcissus, bishop of Gerona, being driven from his see 
in the persecution of Diocletian, wandered homeless as far 
as Augsburg, where finding that the Christians were mightily 
oppressed, and well nigh exterminated, he and his deacon 
Felix, not knowing whither to take refuge, received the 
hospitality offered them by a courtesan named Afra. 1 And 
they not knowing who and what manner of woman she was 
that invited them into her house, went in nothing doubting. 
Then Afra marvelled what manner of men these were, who 
ate little, and spent their time in prayer. And before they 
departed, she believed and was baptized, with all her house. 
Now when nine months had elapsed, Narcissus and his 
deacon, finding the violence of persecution had abated, re- 
turned into Spain, and recommenced their work of converting 
the heathen. The success of Narcissus so exasperated them 
that they waylaid him and assasinated him. When king Philip 
of France took Gerona, his soldiers pillaged the shrine of 
S. Narcissus, whereupon a swarm of hornets issued from it 
and stung them. Consequently in art he is represented 
with hornets issuing from his tomb. Relics at Gerona. 

In the Life of S. Afra (Aug. 5th), it will be shown that It is a late mistake to call 
her a courtesan. 

* * 

i* _ . jp, 

314 Lives of the Saints. [March 18. 

(a.d. 389.) 

[Roman, Greek, and Syriac Kalendars. Authorities : Sozomen, r l heo- 
doret, and his own writings.] 

Cyril succeeded Maximus in the patriarchal see of 
Jerusalem, about the year 350. The story that Maximus 
was deposed, and Cyril substituted by Acacius, Bishop 
of Cesarea, is inconsistent with probabilities, and with 
the testimony borne by the second general Council to the 
canonical regularity of his consecration. The other tale, 
which Jerome credited, that Cyril obtained the see from 
Acacius on condition of disclaiming the ordination which 
Maximus had bestowed, is utterly incredible, and probably 
sprang from the prejudices of a rigid party which mis- 
trusted Cyril. 

The paschal season of 351 was marked at Jerusalem by 
the luminous appearance of a cross, which appeared in the 
sky over the city. It produced a great impression, and 
S. Cyril sent an account of it to Constantius. 1 

Cyril, a man of gentle spirit, eminently a peace-maker, 
was cast in times of great difficulty. The Arian party was 
in power, through the favour of the emperor ; and a large 
number of prelates were semi-Arians ; not disbelieving in 
the divine nature of Christ as consubstantial with the Father, 
but doubting the expedience of stating the doctrine in plain 
words which could not be misunderstood. All who were 
timorous, not thoroughly illumined with the Holy Spirit, and 
wanting in that keenness of theological discrimination which 
makes doctors of the Church, hesitated and temporised. It 

1 The genuineness of this letter, in which he mentions also the rinding of the 
cross, has been doubted. One objection is that it contains the word "consub- 
stantial," which at that period Cyril would hardly have used. But it is by no 
means improbable that this word was interpolated by copyists, for the purpose of 
obtaining the authority of Cyril for that term. 



March 18.] .S*. Cyril of Jerusalem. 315 

was inexpedient to take too harsh an attitude towards these 
weak brethren, and drive them into the arms of the Arians, 
and this Cyril felt Firm in his own faith, deprecating the 
injudicious fire of some Catholics who were resolved at all 
costs to produce a rupture between those who walked in the 
clear light of Catholic certainty, and those who fluttered in 
the twilight, he laboured with words of conciliation to avert 
such a catastrophe. 

At the end of 357, or the beginning of 358, an important 
change took place at Jerusalem. For two years Cyril had 
been forced into opposition to the demands of Acacius. 
He maintained for Jerusalem, as the mother Chu*ch, 
possessing an "Apostolic throne," and marked out for 
honour in the Nicene Council, 1 an independence of Caesarea 
which Acacius would not grant ; and he was also obnoxious 
to Acacius on theological grounds, as holding the orthodox 

Acacius now summoned a small council of bishops of his 
own party, which Cyril declined to attend. This was 
regarded as contumacy; and he was gravely accused of 
having committed an offence in selling some of the church 
ornaments to provide food for the famine-stricken poor. 
Sozomen says that he sold Church treasures and sacred 
veils. Theoderet mentions a vestment of cloth of gold 
presented by Constantine to be worn by the bishop when 
baptizing. Such an accusation does Cyril honour, and 
ranks him with other illustrious prelates, Ambrose, Augus- 
tine, Exuperius, Gregory the Great, Ethelwold of Win- 
chester, who all in like manner sanctioned the principle that 
the law of love is the highest law of all. It is worth remark 
that in this case, as in that of S. John Chrysostom, the 

1 Canon VII. " Since a custom and old tradition has obtained, that the bishop 
of iHlia (Jerusalem) should receive honour, let him hold the second place, the 
metropo'itan (ol Caesarea) being secured in his own dignity." 

4* -- A* 


316 Lives of the Saints. [March 18. 

alliance of a narrow formalism was found, not with ortho- 
doxy, but with heresy. 

By the synod convened by Acacius, Cyril was condemned 
and expelled from Jerusalem. He appealed, with more 
formality, as it appears, than had been usual in such cases, 
to " a higher court f proceeded to Antioch, where he found 
that the patriarch Leontius was dead, and that no one had 
been appointed his successor ; and ultimately found a 
welcome at Tarsus, where Silvanus, the bishop, one of the 
best of the semi-Arians, received him, in disregard of the 
remonstrances from Acacius. This circumstance brought 
Cyril, for the next few years, into connection with the semi- 
Arian party; and he illustrates the fact that it contained 
men of whom Athanasius could say, in his noble readiness 
to discern substantial unity under verbal difference, " We 
do not treat as enemies those who accept everything else 
that was defined at Nicsea, and scruple only about the word 
consubstantial ; for we do not attack them as raging Arians, 
nor as men who fight against the fathers, but we discuss the 
matter with them as brothers with brothers, who mean what 
we mean, and differ only about the word." 

Considerable excitement had been caused in Antioch in 
350 by the ordination of Aetius as deacon, by the patriarch 
Leontius. This man, the most odious of the extreme 
Arians, had gone through many changes of life, as a vine- 
dresser's slave, a goldsmith, a medical man, a guest and 
pupil of Arian bishops, and a professor of that disputatious 
logic in which the heresy was at first embodied. He was 
the first to affirm openly that the Son was essentially un- 
like the Father. Leontius intended his diaconate to 
be a means of propagating Arianism. But Flavian and 
Diodorus, the pillars of Catholicism in Antioch, had 
threatened formally to renounce his communion ; and he 
thought it best to depose Aetius. Now Leontius was dead, 

*b {, 


March is.] S. Cyril of Jerusalem. 317 

and his throne was filled by Eudoxius, the intriguing 
and thoroughly irreligious bishop of Germanicia. He 
gained his promotion by fraud, and the aid of court 
eunuchs ; and he openly patronized Aetius, whose views 
he had imbibed. The state of confusion and discord had 
become intolerable, and a General Council was resolved 
upon. Consultations were held as to the best place ; 
and Constantius the emperor lent his ear to the mis- 
chievous counsel of Acacius and his party, which recom- 
mended the breaking the single council into two, in the 
hopes of being able thereby to " divide and govern." 
Constantius agreed, and Ancyra and Ariminum were 
named as the two places. But Ancyra was afterwards 
thought unsuitable, and it was decided that one portion of 
the council should meet at Seleucia instead of Ancyra. 

The ultra-Arian Valens was governing in the West. 
Both councils met in 359. Four hundred bishops of the 
West, including some from Britain, assembled at Ariminum. 
About eighty were Arians, for the most part of the advanced 

The Easterns met at Seleucia, and numbered one 
hundred and sixty ; of these the great majority, one 
hundred and five, were semi-Arians, and of the rest a party 
were shifty followers of Acacius. Only one small party of 
Egyptians were loyal to the faith of Nicaea; nevertheless 
the council of Seleucia restored S. Cyril to his see, annulled 
his deposition decreed by Acacius, and deposed Acacius 
himself, and Eudoxius of Antioch. 

In the mean time trickery and violence had been at 
work at Ariminum. A creed approved by the Arian 
emperor was sent to the bishops, and they were most 
falsely assured on imperial authority, that the council of 
Seleucia had accepted it The bishops' patience began to 
give way. They shrank from a winter on the shore of the 

3 18 Lives of the Saints. [March 18. 

Adriatic ; they were utterly weary of so long a sojourn at 
Ariminum, and their weariness disposed them to con- 
cession. Bishop after bishop signed the imperial creed ; 
but about twenty held out, headed by two Gallicans, 
Phoebadius and Servatius. Taurus, the emperor's officer, 
appointed to keep order and enforce his object, tried both 
menaces and tears. At last, by a miserable sophistry, 
Valens carried his point, and won for Arianism a scandalous 
victory, whilst it exposed the untruthfulness which character- 
ized the Arian policy. 

Acacius had returned to Constantinople with wrath in his 
heart, resolved to ruin the semi-Arians and Cyril. He 
persuaded Constantius to allow a council to be summoned 
to meet at Constantinople next year, January, 360. About 
fifty bishops were present Acacius ruled the assembly ; 
Aetius was made a scape-goat by the Acacians for having 
too boldly given expression to the error which they sought 
to propagate insidiously. The council then deposed the 
leading semi-Arians, but not on doctrinal grounds. Cyril of 
Jerusalem, and Silvanus of Tarsus were deposed, and with 
the emperor's power to back their decisions, they were 
driven into banishment. At the same time the unreality of 
their censure of Aetius was shown by the enthronement of 
Eudoxius, who was his chief supporter, at Constantinople, 
on Jan. 27th. On Feb. 15th he dedicated the restored 
church of the Eternal Wisdom, for the service of which 
Constantius offered splendid vessels, curtains, altar-cloths, 
blazing with gold and jewels. In the midst of the cere- 
monial, Eudoxius began his sermon with these words, 
"The Father is irreligious, the Son is religious." A 
commotion followed ; the bishop bade the people calm 
themselves. "Surely the Father worships none, and the 
Son worships the Father !" A burst of laughter followed 
this speech, which became a good jest in the society of the 



March 18.] S. Cyril of Jerusalem. 319 

capital. This was the man Acacius and his packed council 
had set up, when they cast down Cyril. Eudoxius was well 
fitted to hand on the old traditions of Arian profanity. 

The emperor Constantius died, Nov. 3rd, 361, and 
Julian having recalled the exiled bishops, S. Cyril returned 
to his see. 

The unhappy man who was now lord of the empire had 
been for some ten years a hypocrite in his Christian pro- 
fession. No sooner was he proclaimed emperor, than he 
openly professed himself a restorer of the old religion. 
Then it was that he "washed off the laver" of baptism by 
a hideous self-immersion in bull's blood, 1 and sought to 
cleanse his hands from the touch of the bloodless Sacrifice 
by holding in them the entrails of victims. He set up an 
image of Fortune in the great church, and while he was 
sacrificing there, Maris, bishop of Chalcedon, now a blind 
old man, was led up to him at his own request, and rebuked 
his impiety. " Will thy Galilsean God cure thy blindness ?" 
asked Julian. " I thank my God," said Maris, " for the 
blindness which saves me from seeing the face of an 

The last of Julian's attacks upon Christianity was his 
attempt to rebuild the temple of Jerusalem. He did indeed 
wish to aid the Jews in their desire of renewing the Levitical 
sacrifices, and to secure their attachment to his government 
in spite of its paganism ; but his main object was to con- 
found the Gospel by raising up the fabric which it had 
expressly doomed, # and thus reviving the system of which 
that fabric had been the symbol and centre. 

The rapturous hopes of the Jews were expressed in the 

scene which followed the imperial mandate, when silver 

spades and mattocks were employed, and earth was carried 

.away from the excavations in the rich dresses of delicate 

* lhe Rite of Taurobolia, Prudent. Peristreph. 10. 


2 20 Lives of the Saints. [March 18. 

women. The faith of the Christians was expressed by 
Cyril's denunciations of the predestined failure. Full of 
confidence he proclaimed that the enterprise, so far from 
succeeding, would prove to all men the impossibility of 
resisting the decree of God. Great must have been his 
faith, for every appearance was against him. The heathen 
historian, Ammianus Marcellinus, tells us what ensued. 
After all possible assistance had been given by the authori- 
ties, " fearful balls of fire breaking out near the foundations 
with repeated attacks, scorched the workmen several times, 
and rendered the place inaccessible ; and in this way, after 
obstinate repulses by the fiery element, the undertaking was 
brought to a stand." Various details are added by Chris- 
tian writers, as of an earthquake, a whirlwind, fire from 
heaven, a luminous cross in the air, and marks of crosses 
on the garments of the Jews. It is possible that in these 
particulars there is an element of exaggeration, and that in 
the fiery eruption itself, natural agencies were employed. 
But that those agencies should manifest themselves at that 
particular crisis will appear accidental, as men speak, to 
those only who do not estimate the exceeding awfulness of 
the occasion, the unparalleled historical position of Julian, 
the mystery of iniquity in his general policy, and the 
specially anti-Christian malignity of this attempt at a 
confutation of Christ's words. 

" His shafts, not at the Church, but at her Lord addrest," 
might well be cast back upon himself by a manifestation of 
" the finger of God." as real and awe-inspiring as any of 
those natural phenomena, the presence of which under 
particular circumstances made them a sign of judgment 
against Pharaoh. 

Julian promised, in his vexation, says Orosius. to revenge 
his failure on S. Cyril on his return from the Persian war. 
But this return never took place. Cyril was again exiled 


March i8.j S. Finnian. 321 

by the Arian emperor Valens, in 367. He returned in 378, 
when the emperor Gratian ordered the restoration of the 
Catholics. He found his diocese rent by schism, corrupted 
by heresy. Adultery, robbery, and poisoning were general. 
The council of Antioch in 379, informed of the deplorable 
condition of the diocese, sent Gregory of Nyssa, already 
charged with reforming the churches of Arabia, to assist 
him in pacifying spirits, and repressing immorality; but 
his labours were without result. In 381, S. Cyril was pre- 
sent at the General Council of Constantinople, and subscribed 
the condemnation of the semi-Arians and Macedonians. 
He died in 386, at the age of seventy. 

(a.d. 589.) 

[Roman and Irish Martyrologies. At Lucca the feast of his translation 
is observed on Nov. 19th. Authorities : Mention in life of S. Enda, 
March 21st] 

S. Finnian of Moville is mentioned in the life of S. 
Enda as one of his disciples in Aran, the Isle of Saints. 
This remarkable man was the son of Ultach, an Irish king, 
and was baptized without his father's consent. He was first 
placed under the care of S. Colman of Dromore, who 
nourished about the year 510. It is expressly mentioned 
in the life just referred to, that it was from Aran he set out 
on his pilgrimage to Rome. This was probably his first 
visit to the apostolic See. Being of an active temperament, 
he there devoted himself with great ardour for several years 
to the study of the ecclesiastical and apostolic traditions. He 
then returned to Ireland, carrying with him a rich store of 
relics of the saints given him by the pope, and the penitential 
canons, which in his biographer's time, were still called 

VOL. III. 21 

* * 

322 Lives of the Saints. [March 18. 

" The Canons of S. Finnian." He also brought to Ireland 
the earliest copy of S. Jerome's translations of the Gospels; 
a treatise of such value in the estimation of his ecclesi- 
astical contemporaries, that the records of this period very 
frequently refer to them as S. Finnian's Gospels. 

In 540, he founded the great monastery of Moville, 
where S. Columba spent a portion of his youth. After 
labouring with energy in Ireland, S. Finnian returned to 
Italy, where, according to the best authorities, he was made 
bishop of Lucca, in Tuscany, in which Church he is venerated 
under the name of Frigidian, or Fridian. During the 
twenty-eight years that he governed the see of Lucca, he 
built twenty-eight churches ; the chief of these he dedicated 
to the three holy Levites, but it has since borne his name. 
He is said to have carried a huge stone towards the erection 
of the church, which none else could lift. It is still pre- 
served in the church as a monument of his strength and 
zeal. S. Gregory the Great relates a story of his miraculous 
power. One day the river Arno had overflowed the 
country, devastating the fields. The saint ran a plough 
down to the flood, and it recoiled before the share. 

The Italian annals give 588 as the year of his death ; the 
annals of Ulster and Tigernach 589. 

(a.d. 572.) 

[Gallican Martyrology, Authority : S. Gregory of Tours (542) his 

S. Tetricus was the son of S. Gregory of Langres, whose 
life has been given on Jan. 4th. His mother's name was 
Armentaria. By her S. Gregory had two sons, Tetricus, 
who succeeded him in the see of Langres, and Gregory, the 

* -* 

* * 

March 18.] S. Tetricus. 323 

father of Armentaria, mother of S. Gregory of Tours, the 
historian, who has recorded all that we know of the life of 
his great-uncle. This is not much. The choice of the 
clergy and people fell on Tetricus as a successor to his 
father, almost unanimously moved thereto by the hopes 
that he would inherit the virtues of S. Gregory. Nor were 
these hopes frustrated. Tetricus ruled with prudence, and 
was a burning and a shining light in his diocese. One 
Sunday at Dijon, as the prelate was ministering in the 
Church of S. John, Chramn, the rebel son of king Clothaire, 
entered it, and besought that he might be allowed to con- 
sult the divine Oracles on the future. Three books were 
accordingly placed on the altar, the Prophets, the Gospel, 
and the Epistles ; and the clergy prayed along with Chramn 
that the future might be unfolded to him. Then he opened 
the book of the Prophets, and lighted on the words of 
Isaiah, v. 4, 5. "What could have been done more to my 
vineyard, that I have not done in it ? Wherefore, when I 
looked that it should bring forth grapes, brought it forth 
wild grapes ? And now, go to ; I will tell you what I will 
do to my vineyard : I will take away the hedge thereof, and 
it shall be eaten up : and break down the wall thereof, and 
it shall be trodden down." Then the book of Epistles was 
opened at the place, " When they say, Peace and safety ; 
then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon 
a woman with child ; and they shall not escape," 1 Thess. 
v. 3 ; and the book of the Gospels when interrogated gave 
the following answer, Matt. vii. 26, 27, "A foolish man, 
which built his house upon the sand : and the rain de- 
scended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat 
upon that house, and it fell : and great was the fall of it" 
Chramn went away much dispirited. Shortly after, hearing 
that his father was marching upon Dijon, he retired into 
Aquitaine, but being pursued by Clothaire, he fled into 

* __ ^ 

* >J, 

3 24 Lives of the Saints. [March ia. 

Brittany to Count Conovre. Shortly 'after Clothaire attacked 
them and defeated them in a battle in which the count fell. 
He then took his son and shut him up in a cottage with 
his wife and children, set fire to the place, and burnt them 


(A.D. 978.) 

[Anglican Martyrologies, also modern Anglican Kalendar. Roman 
Martyrology. The elevation of his body, June 20th ; his translation, Feb. 
18th. Authorities : The Chronicle of John of Brompton, Osbern of Can- 
terbury, William of Malmesbury.] 

In the year 975, King Edgar died, and was buried at 
Glastonbury. He had been twice married. His first wife 
was the beautiful Ethelfleda, who died shortly after the birth 
of her son Edward. After her death Edgar married, in 964, 
Elfrida, daughter of Ordgar, earl of Devonshire, and she 
became the mother of two sons by him, Edmund, who died 
young, and Ethelred. As soon as king Edgar was dead, 
Edward, who was thirteen years old, a good youth, upright 
in all his dealings, and fearing God, was elected to the 
crown, much to the discontent of Elfrida, who desired to 
see her son Ethelred on the throne. 

In the year 978, when Edward was aged seventeen, he 
was murdered. Now, certainly he was not a martyr for the 
Christian faith, nor for right and truth in any shape ; but he 
was a good youth, and was unjustly and cruelly killed, so 
people looked on him as a saint, and called him Edward 
the Martyr. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle greatly laments 
his death, and says that a worse deed had never been done 
since the English came into Britain. It does not, however, 
say who killed him, but only that he was killed at eventide, 
at Corfe Castle. Henry of Huntingdon says that king 

* * 


March, p. 324.] 

[March 18. 

March is.] S.Edward. 325 

Edward was killed by his own people ; Florence of Wor- 
cester, that he was killed by his own people by order of his 
step-mother, Elfrida. William of Malmesbury, in one part 
of his book, says he was killed by earl Elfhere, but this is 
improbable, as no reason for such an act appears. But in 
recording his death, Malmesbury attributes the crime to El- 
frida, and tells the story thus : 

When Edward was elected, Elfrida hated him, because 
she wished her own son, Ethelred, to be king, and she ever 
sought how she might slay Edward. Now, one day the 
young king was hunting in Dorsetshire, hard by the castle 
of Corfe, where Elfrida and Ethelred her son dwelt And 
the king was weary and thirsty, so he turned away alone 
from his hunting, and said, " Now will I go to rest myself 
at Corfe, with my step-mother Elfrida, and my brother 
Ethelred." So king Edward rode to the gate of the house, 
and Elfrida came out to meet him, and kissed him. And 
he said, " Give me to drink, for I am thirsty." And Elfrida 
commanded, and they brought him a cup, and he drank 
eagerly. But while he drank, Elfrida made a sign to her 
servant, and he stabbed the king with a dagger ; and when 
the king felt the wound, he set spurs to his horse, and tried 
to join his comrades, who were hunting. But he slipped 
from his horse, and his leg caught in the stirrup, so he was 
dragged along till he died, and the track of his blood showed 
whither he had gone. And Elfrida bade that he should be 
buried in Wareham, but not in holy ground, nor with any 
royal pomp. But a light from heaven shone over his grave, 
and wonders were wrought there. But when the child 
Ethelred heard of his brother's murder, he began to cry and 
bewail him, for Edward had always been very kind to the 
little boy. His mother, stung by her conscience, and angry 
with him for his lamentations, rushed on the child to beat 
him, and having no stick at hand, she pulled a wax candle 

* # 




Lives of the Saints. 

[March 18. 

out of its socket, and thrashed him with it But afterwards, 
when she heard of the mighty works which were done at 
the grave of king Edward, how the sick were healed, and 
the lame walked, she resolved to go and see the miracles 
with her own eyes. But when she mounted her horse to 
ride, the horse would not stir. So Elfrida's hard heart was 
shaken, and she became alarmed about her sin that she had 
committed, and she retired into the convent of Wherwell, 
that she might repent in ashes the wickednes she had done. 
The body was afterwards translated to the minster at 
Shaftesbury (June 20th). 

S. Edward is usually drawn with a youthful countenance, 
having the insignia of royalty, with a cup in one hand and 
a dagger in the other. Sometimes he has a sceptre instead 
of the cup ; and at other times a falcon, in allusion to his 
last hunt 



From the Vienna Missal. 

March, p. 326.] 

[March 19. 

* * 

March i 9 .j 6\ yoseph. 327 

March 19. 

S. Joseph, Husband of the B. virgin Mary, before a.d. 30. 

SS. Quintus, Quintillius, and Comp., MM. at Sorrento. 

S. Pancharius, M. at Nicomedia, 3rd cent. 

S. John, Ab. at Ci-vita-di-Penne, near Spoleto, 4th cent. 

S. Lkontius, B. of Saintes in France, 6th cent. 

S. Lactean, Ab. in Ireland, a.d. 622. 

SS. Landoald, P.C., Amantius, D., and Adrian, M. at tyinteu- 

haven, in Belgium, 8th cent. 
S. Alkmund, M. at Derby, a.d. 800. 


(BEFORE A.D. 30.) 

[Roman Martyro'.ogy. His festival was ordered by pope Sixtus IV. to 
be observed as a double ; Gregory XV. recommended its general ob- 
servance by the faithful, and this recommendation was confirmed by 
Urban XIII., by bull in 1642.] 

LL we know for certain concerning S. Joseph, 
the husband of Mary the mother of God, is 
derived from the Holy Gospels. To him was 
confided the most precious treasure ever en- 
trusted to man, the guardianship of Mary and Jesus, of the 
Mother and the Son of God ; whence we may infer the great 
sanctity and merit of S. Joseph. 

He was of the lineage of David, and therefore of royal 
race, but was poor, and gained his livelihood as a carpenter. 
According to S. Matthew his father's name was Jacob, 
according to S. Luke it was Heli, this discrepancy in the 
accounts is explained by the supposition that one of the 
genealogies represents the direct line of natural generation, 
the other the legal descent of royal prerogative. We are 
expressly told that he was a just man. On perceiving that 
his virgin wife was with child, he resolved secretly to put 

* * 

328 Lives of the Saints. [March 10. 

her away, for having lived with her in the purest relations, 
he knew that the child could be none of his; and by 
secretly divorcing her, he would spare her the scandal 
which would attach itself to her, for the world would regard 
her offspring as his son, and he alone would know that this 
was not the case. 

But he was warned by God in a dream to believe in the 
innocence of his wife, and was told that she was to become 
the mother of the Son of God. Afterwards, when Herod 
sought the life of the young child, he took Him and His 
mother by night and fled with them into Egypt, till hearing 
that Herod was dead, in obedience to an angelic order, he 
returned to Palestine ; but finding that Archelaus the son of 
Herod was reigning in Judea, he thought it imprudent to 
enter his dominions, and therefore settled at Nazareth. He 
and Mary went once every year to Jerusalem to offer their 
sacrifice in the temple, in obedience to the requirements of 
the law, and on one of these occasions Jesus accompanied 
them. The child Jesus grew up under the care of Joseph, 
assisting him in his shop. It is believed that Joseph died 
before our Lord began his ministry ; for we hear of him no 

The girdle of S. Joseph is said to be preserved among the 
sacred treasures of the church of Joinville, in the diocese of 


(3RD CENT.) 

[Roman Martyrology and Greek Menaea. Authority : The account in 
the Menaea.] 

Pancharius, a young Christian, well-favoured, and 
active, having gained the favour of the emperor Maximian, 
became his secretary. His mother and sister, hearing this, 

*- * 

^'Sk ySm \wm&> 


March, p. 328.] 

[March 19. 


March i 9 .] 6". John at Civita-di-Penne. 329 

were filled with anxiety lest his soul should be imperilled. 
They therefore wrote to him a letter urging him not to be 
ashamed of Christ, and to remember that it profits a man 
little to gain the whole world if he lose his own soul. On 
reading this letter, Pancharius was moved, and lifting up his 
voice he prayed to God, " Have mercy upon me, Almighty 
God, and bring not thy servant to confusion in the face of 
men and angels, but according to thy great mercy, spare 
me." Some one overheard this prayer, and told the 
emperor that his favourite was a Nazarene. The emperor 
sent for him and asked him if this were true. Then the 
young man confessed that he was. The emperor urged him 
to renounce his religion. But as Pancharius refused, he 
ordered him to be scourged, and sent to Nicomedia to be 
tried* and sentenced by the governor. At Nicomedia he 
was subjected to fresh interrogation, but maintaining his 
constancy, was condemned to execution by the sword. 


(4TH CENT.) 

[Usuardus, Ado, Notker, some copies of Bede's Martyrology, and the 
Roman Martyrology. Authority : An ancient life published by the 
Bollandists, but evidently founded on tradition.] 

The life of this saint shall be translated from the original, 
as it deserves, from its quaint simplicity and freshness. 

" It fell out in those days that as the blessed John was 
going forth from Syria, he prayed, saying, 'Lord God of 
heaven and earth, God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and 
of our Fathers, who madest heaven and earth with all their 
adornments, who by a word didst suspend the sea, who 
didst close the abyss and sign above it gloriously, whose 
mighty name all things revere, and before the face of whose 

# * 

* * 

330 Lives of the Saints. [March i 9 . 

virtue all things quake ; I pray Thee, who art the true light, 
illumine me hoping in thee, and make my way prosperous 
before me, in which I go, and let this be to me for a sign 
that there I should rest, when that person to whom I give 
my psalter shall not return it to me the self-same day.' 

"And it came to pass that he came to Italy, and was 
near to the metropolitan city (of Spoleto) and had gone 
about five miles into the Angellan farm, when he met with 
a certain handmaiden of God, and he gave to her his 
psalter. And afterwards he asked the handmaid for it 
again, and she said, ' Servant of God, whither goest thou ? 
Tarry here, and go thy way to-morrow.' And when they 
had long spoken, she insisted that he should remain there 
that night; so he remained. And the blessed John 
remembered his prayer that he had made, and he said in 
his heart, ' Verily this is what I besought of the Lord ; here 
will I dwell.' 

" So when the morning came, having received his psalter 
again, he went forth no more than four bow-shots. And, 
behold f an angel of God appeared to him, and went before 
him, and when they came to the place, the angel said to 
him, ' Sit down here, servant of the most high God, for the 
Lord hath commanded thee to dwell here,' and so saying, he 
led him under a tree and said, ' Here shalt thou have a 
great congregation, and find rest.' Then S. John, the 
Confessor of Christ, sat down under the tree. 

" Now it was the month of December, and according to 
the custom of the month, it froze hard, and all the ground 
was stiff; but the tree under which the blessed John 
reposed, blossomed as the lily. And at that time hunters 
went by, and they found him sitting under the tree, and 
they thought that he was a spy, and they questioned him, 
saying, ' Whence comest thou ?' Then the blessed John told 
them all, and how he had come to Italy. So they marvelled 

tj . ^ 


March i 9 .] , Lactean. 


greatly, for they had never seen a habit like his. But he 
said to them, ' Do not, my sons, do not harm me, for I have 
come here in the service of Jesus Christ.' 

"Then they observing the tree, that it shone as a lily, 
knew that the Lord was with him, and they told all things to 
the bishop of Spoleto. And when bishop John heard this, 
he was filled with great joy, and he hasted, and went to 
where the blessed John was praying. And when they saw 
one another, for joy they wept. And all that were present 
gave glory to God. Now through the mercy of God many 
people were collected there, and he built a monastery, and 
he lived therein all the rest of the days of his life. And he 
was there forty and four years, and he fell asleep in peace, 
and was buried with hymns and songs, where he reposes to 
this day, and there the blind receive their sight, devils are 
expelled, lepers are cleansed, and the divine offices are there 
performed to the present day, through the assistance of 
Jesus Christ, our Lord, who liveth and reigneth, through 
ages. Amen." 

(about a.d. 622.) 

[Irish Martyrologies. Authority : A fragmentary life published by the 
Bollandists, based on tradition.] 

The legend of this saint comes under the same category 
as so many of the other Irish legends. It exists only in 
fragments, and was written several hundreds of years after 
the death of S. Lactean, from oral tradition. It shall be 
given without any attempt at sifting truth from fable, as a 
specimen of these Irish biographies. 

An angel appeared to S. Molua (d. about 608), monk of 
Banchor, in Ireland, when he was wondering who would 
become his pupil, and announced to him that after the lapse 


332 Lives of the Saints. [March 19. 

of fifteen years a child would be born, who would become 
his disciple. And for those fifteen years Molua did not 
laugh, being instant in expectation. Now there was a man 
in Munster named Torphur, who had a wife named Senecha, 
and she was with child. And before the child was born, 
her breasts filled with milk. An old man, named Mohe- 
math, passed by, and he was blind. Then Senecha struck 
his eyes with her milk, and his eyes opened, and he saw so 
plain that the city of Rome, bathed in clear light, was visible 
instantly to his so long darkened orbs. 

Now when Lactean was born, Mohemath was near at 
hand. And the place was without water. So Mohemath 
took the finger of the new-born babe, and with it signed a 
cross on the earth. Then instantly a fountain burst forth, 
and therein Lactean was baptized. And when Lactean was 
a month old, he was taken to S. Alpheus, to be rebaptized, 
but when he saw the child full of the grace of God, he 
knew that he had already been bathed in the laver of re- 
generation, and, therefore, he refused to repeat the sacra- 
ment. Also there was in that country a grain, which acted 
on whomsoever ate thereof as an emetic, but the infant 
Lactean was fed thereon, and was none the worse, for indeed 
nothing injured him. Now a grievous murrain broke out 
amongst the cattle of his father, and they died. But there 
was a white cow with a red face, on whose milk Lactean 
was nourished, and this cow died. Then the child was 
carried in his mother's arms to the dead cow, and it re- 
covered, and her milk was distributed amongst the other 
cows, and they recovered of their disorder. 

Now when Lactean was aged fifteen, the angel Muriel, 
who was commissioned to be his guardian, led him to 
Banchor, and S. Comgal gave him to be the pupil and com- 
panion of S. Molua, who instructed him in letters and the 
reading of the Divine Scriptures. 


March i 9 .] .SVS". Landoald, Amantius,&c. 333 

Afterwards Lactean went to S. Mochuda, and as he drew 
nigh, he sent and asked Mochuda for milk. Then Mochuda 
filled a vessel with pure water, and signed it, and it became 
milk, but Lactean took it, and signed it again, and it was 
reconverted into water. Afterwards Lactean founded the 
abbey of Clonfert, and he died in the odour of sanctity. 

It is evident that his name was the occasion of so many 
milky legends attaching themselves to it 1 

Colgan has confounded this S. Lactean with another of 
the same name, a contemporary of S. Senan of Iniscatthy, 
from whom the church of Lis-lachtin, in Kerry, took its 
name, and who died about the year 560. The S. Lactean 
of Clonfert belonged to the house of Corpre Muse, of Mus- 
kerry, Cork, and was a friend of S. Mochoemog (Pulcherius), 
abbot of Achadur (Aghour), in Kilkenny. 



(8th cent.) 

[Belgian Martyrologies. S. Landoald is venerated especially at Ghent. 
Also Roman and Gallican Martyrologies. The translation of S. Landoald 
is commemorated on Dec. ist, and the elevation on June 13th. The ori- 
ginal Acts were lost in 954, and by order of Notker, B. of Liege, new ones 
were compiled in 981, by one Herdger, abbot of Lobie, who died 1007.] 

S. Amandus having resigned the see of Maestricht into 
the hands of S. Remacle, to resume his first vocation of 
mission work in the Low Countries, went to Rome to obtain 
the approval of his design by pope Martin. The pope not 
only approved of it, but gave him Landoald, a priest of the 
Roman Church, of Lombard family, to accompany and 
assist him in his work. S. Amandus was also joined by the 

1 Baine is the common Irish for milk, but there Is a Welsh word, probably 
adopted from the Latin, Llzth, which means milk. 


334 Lives of the Saints. ' March * 

deacon Amantius. They left Rome, and after visiting some 
of the monasteries of France, arrived in the country between 
the Meuse and the Scheldt, where S. Remacle met S. Aman- 
dus, and persuaded him to allow him to keep Landoald 
with him to assist him in the work of evangelising his 
diocese. Landoald had a large field for the exercise of his 
zeal in the diocese of Maestricht, only partially converted 
to the faith. A rich man named Aper gave him a piece 
of land at Wintershoven, on the river Herck, to the west of 
Maestricht, where he built a church, which he dedicated to 
S. Peter, in 659. Landoald continued his labours under S. 
Theodard, the successor of S. Remacle, making Winters- 
hoven his head-quarters, and sending from time to time 
one of his little community to Maestricht to beg. One of 
his disciples, Adrian by name, was returning from his quest 
of alms, when he was waylaid by some robbers, and mur- 
dered. S. Landoald did not long survive him, and there is 
reason to believe that he died before S. Lambert succeeded, 
in the see of Maestricht, to S. Theodard, who was martyred 
in 668. He was buried in the church of Wintershoven, but 
his body was taken up in 735, and transported into Maes- 
tricht, but from fear of the Normans it was concealed, and 
taken up again along with the bodies of S. Amantius and 
S. Adrian, by Euraculus, bishop of Liege, but they were 
claimed by the monks of S. Bavo, at Ghent, who were pro- 
prietors of Wintershoven, and the bodies were translated to 
Ghent in 980. 

(a.d. 800.) 

[Anglican Martyrologies. Authorities x Florence of Worcester, Wil- 
liam of Malmesbury, Simeon of Durham, and Thurgot of Durham.] 

A great discrepancy exists in the accounts given of this 
saint Malmesbury is certainly not to be trusted in his 



March 19.] 6". Alkmund. 335 

relation, and we must follow the account of Simeon of Dur- 
ham. Ceolwulf, king of Northumbria, abdicated in 737, and 
was succeeded by Egbert, who was succeeded in 758 by his 
brother Osulf, who was killed in 759, leaving a son, named 
Ethelwald. He was succeeded, not by his son Ethelwald, 
but by another Ethelwald, surnamed Moll, who was banished 
in 765, when Alcred, son of Eanwin, a descendant of Ida, 
came to the throne. He was banished in 774, and the 
crown rested on the head of Ethelred, son of Ethelwald 
Moll, who was banished in 779, and succeeded by Ethel- 
wald, son of Osulf. But this Ethelwald was killed in 788, 
whereupon Osred, son of Alcred, came to the throne. 
Osred's younger brother was S. Alkmund, the subject of 
this memoir. But Osred was deposed, in 790, by Ethelred, 
son of Ethelwald Moll, who had been exiled in 779, and 
this king put Osred to death in 792 ; and Alkmund, in 800, 
was murdered by order of king Eardulf, who came to the 
throne in 797, after the assassination of Ethelred in 796. 

Alkmund had spent some years in banishment among the 
Picts, and was loved and revered for his spotless innocence 
and gentleness in a period of crime and violence. Harps- 
field, following Radulph Diceto, says Alkmund fell in battle 
against the West Saxons, which is certainly wrong. He 
also makes Alkmund the son of Ethelred, which is also a 
mistake; and Malmesbury calls his father Alfred. The 
name probably was Alcfred. 

S. Alkmund was buried at Lilleshut, in Shropshire, but 
his body was afterwards translated to Derby, and he is 
honoured as the patron of that town. 

* * 



Lives of the Saints. 

[March 20. 

March 20. 

S. Joachim, Father of the B. Firgin Mary. 

SS. Photina, Joseph, Victor, and Companions, MM., rst eer.t. 

S. Archippus, Companion of S. Paul, ut cent. 

SS. Paul, Cyril, and Companions, MM. in Syria. 

SS. Alexandra, Claudia, and Others, MM. at Amisa, 4th cent. 

S. Urbicius, B. of Mete, circ. a.d. 420. 

S. Martin, Archb. of Braga, in Portugal, a.d. 580. 

S. Cuthbert, B. of Lindisfarne, a.d. 687. 

S. Herbert, P.H. in an island of Derwentivater, a.d. 687. 

S. Wulfram, B. of Sens, a.d. 741. 

SS. John, Sergius, Cosmas, and Companions, Monks MM. in tKc 

Laura of S. Sabas, near Jerusalem, a.d. 797. 
S. Nicetas, B.M. at Apollonia, 8th cent. 
B. Ambrose, O.P. at Sienna, a.d. 1287. 
B. HippolytusGalantini, Founder of the Institute of Christian 

Brothers, at Florence, a.d. 1619. 


[Roman Martyrology ; by the Greeks on Sept. 9th. The insertion of 
this name in the Martyrologies is not earlier than the 16th century. Tha 
Roman Breviary of 1522, pub. at Venice, contained it with special office, 
but this was expunged by pope Pius V., and in the Breviary of 1572, 
neither name nor office are to be found.J 

5"Vi|*tfW0THING whatever is known of S. Joachim, ex- 
jIv^SE ce P t wnat * s related in the Apocryphal Gospels, 
IrH^I w l ience tne name is derived. It is possible, 
mffir^iffj however, that the name was traditionally pre- 
served, and adopted by the author of the Apocryphal 



* * 

March 20.] ,S. Cuthbert. 337 

(a.d. 687.) 

[Martyrologiesof Bede, Usuardus, Ado, Rabanus Maurus ; the Anglican, 
Scottish, and Irish Martyrologies ; the Benedictine and the Roman as welL 
Authorities : Bede's Life of S. Cuthbert, another by a monk of Lindis- 
farne, written in the reign of Egfrid (d. 705). The following life is ex- 
tracted from Montalembert's " Monks of the West."] 

Of the parentage of Cuthbert, nothing for certain is 
known. The Kelts have claimed him as belonging to 
them, at least by birth. They made him out to have been 
the son of an Irish princess, reduced to slavery, like Bridget, 
the holy patroness of Ireland, but who fell, more miserably, 
victim to the lust of her savage master. His Celtic origin 
would seem to be more conclusively proved by his attitude 
towards S. Wilfrid, the introducer of Roman uniformity into 
the north of England, than by the tradition of the Anglo- 
Saxon monks of Durham. His name is certainly Saxon, 
and not Keltic. But, to tell the truth, nothing is certainly 
known either of his place of birth, or the rank of his 

His first appearance in history is as a shepherd in Lauder- 
dale, a valley watered by a river which flows into the Tweed 
near Melrose. It was then a district annexed to the king- 
dom of Northumbria, which had just been delivered by the 
holy king Oswald from the yoke of the Mercians and 
Britons. As he is soon afterwards to be seen travelling on 
horseback, lance in hand, and accompanied by a squire, it 
is not to be supposed that he was of poor extraction. At 
the same time, it was not the flocks of his father which he 
kept, as did David in the plains of Bethlehem ; it is ex- 
pressly noted that the flocks confided to his care belonged 
to a master, or to several masters. His family must have 
been in the rank of those vassals to whom the great Saxon 

VOL. III. 22 

* -ij, 

J, * 

338 Lives of the Saints. [March*.. 

lords gave the care and superintendence of their flocks upon 
the vast extent of pastures which, under the name of folc- 
land or common, was left to their use, and where the cow- 
herds and shepherds lived day and night in the open air, as 
is still done by the shepherds of Hungary. 

Popular imagination in the north of England, of which 
Cuthbert was the hero before, as well as after, the Norman 
Conquest, had thus full scope in respect to the obscure 
childhood of its favourite saint, and delighted in weaving 
stories of his childish sports, representing him as walking 
on his hands, and turning somersaults with his little com- 
panions. A more authentic testimony, that of his contem- 
porary, Bede, informs us that our shepherd boy had not his 
equal among the children of his age, for activity, dexterity, 
and boldness in the race and fight. In all sports and athletic 
exercises he was the first to challenge his companions, with 
the certainty of being the victor. The description reads 
like that of a little Anglo-Saxon of our own day a scholar 
of Eton or Harrow. At the same time, a precocious piety 
showed itself in him, even amid the exuberance of youth. 
One night, as he said his prayers, while keeping the sheep 
of his master, he saw the sky, which had been very dark, 
broken by a track of light, upon which a cloud of angels 
descended from heaven, returning afterwards with a resplen- 
dent soul, which they had gone to meet on earth. Next 
morning he heard that Aidan, the holy bishop of Lindis- 
farne, the apostle of the district, had died during the night. 
This vision determined his monastic vocation. 

Some time afterwards we find him at the gates of the 
monastery of Melrose, the great Keltic establishment for 
novices in Northumbria. He was then only fifteen, yet, 
nevertheless, he arrived on horseback, lance in hand, at- 
tended by a squire, for he had already begun his career in 
the battle-field, and learned iD the face of the enemy the 


# X 

March 30.] 6". Cuthbert. 339 

first lessons of abstinence, which he now meant to practise 
in the cloister. He was received by two great doctors of 
the Keltic Church, the abbot Eata, one of the twelve 
Northumbrians first chosen by Aidan, and the prior Boswell, 
who conceived a special affection for the new-comer, and 
undertook the charge of his monastic education. Five 
centuries later, the copy of the Gospels in which the master 
and pupil had read daily, was still kissed with veneration in 
the cathedral of Durham. 

The robust and energetic youth very soon showed the 
rarest aptitude for monastic life, not only for cenobitical 
exercises, but, above all, for the missionary work, which was 
the principal occupation of monks in that country and 
period. He was not content merely to surpass all the other 
monks in his devotion to the four principal occupations of 
monastic life study, prayer, vigil, and manual labour but 
speedily applied himself to the work of casting out from 
the hearts of the surrounding population the last vestiges of 
pagan superstition. Not a village was so distant, not a 
mountain side so steep, not a village so poor, that it escaped 
his zeal. He sometimes passed weeks, and even months, 
out of his monastery, preaching to and confessing the rustic 
population of the mountains. The roads were very bad, 
or rather there were no roads ; only now and then was it 
possible to travel on horseback ; sometimes, when his course 
lay along the coast of the district inhabited by the Picts, he 
would take the help of a boat. But generally it was on foot 
that he had to penetrate into the glens and distant valleys, 
crossing the heaths and vast table-lands, uncultivated and 
uninhabited, where a few shepherd's huts, like that in which 
he himself had passed his childhood, and which were in 
winter abandoned even by the rude inhabitants, were thinly 
scattered. But neither the intemperance of the seasons, 
nor hunger, nor thirst, arrested the young and valiant mis- 

* * 

* * 

340 Lives of the Saints. [March 20 . 

sionary in his apostolic travels, to seek the scattered popu- 
lation, half Celts, and half Anglo-Saxons, who, though 
already Christian in name and by baptism, retained an ob- 
stinate attachment to many of their ancient superstitions, 
and who were quickly led back by any great calamity, such 
as one of the great pestilences which were then so frequent, 
to the use of magic, amulets, and other practices of idolatry. 
The details which have been preserved of the wonders 
which often accompanied his wanderings, show that his 
labours extended over all the hilly district between the two 
seas from the Solway to the Forth. They explain to us 
how the monks administered the consolations and the teach- 
ing of religion, before the organization of parishes, ordained 
by archbishop Theodore, had been everywhere introduced 
or regulated. As soon as the arrival of one of these apos- 
tolic missionaries in a somewhat central locality was known, 
all the population of the neighbourhood hastened to hear 
him, endeavouring with fervour and simplicity to put in 
practice the instruction they received from him. Cuthbert, 
especially, was received among them with affectionate con- 
fidence ; his eloquence was so persuasive that it brought 
the most rebellious to his feet, to hear their sins revealed to 
them, and to accept the penance which he imposed upon 

Cuthbert prepared himself for preaching and the admin- 
istration of the Sacraments, by extraordinary penances and 
austerities. Stone bathing-places, in which he passed the 
entire night in prayer, lying in the frozen water, according 
to a custom common among the Keltic saints, are still shown 
in several different places. When he was near the sea, he 
went to the shore, unknown to any one, at night, and plung- 
ing into the waves up to his neck, sang his vigils there. As 
soon as he came out of the water he resumed his prayers on 
the sand of the beach. On one occasion, one of his dis- 


March .o.j ,S. Cuthbert. 34 1 

ciples, who had followed him secretly in order to discover 
the aim of this nocturnal expedition, saw two otters come 
up out of the water, which, while the saint prayed on his 
knees, lick his frozen feet, and wipe them with their 
hair, until life and warmth returned to the benumbed mem- 
bers. By one of those strange caprices of human frivolity 
which disconcert the historian, this insignificant incident is 
the only recollection which now remains in the memory of 
the people. S. Cuthbert is known to the peasant of North- 
umberland and of the Scottish borders only by the legend 
of those compassionate otters. 

He had been some years at Melrose, when the abbot 
Eata took him along with him to join the community of 
Keltic monks established by king Alchfrid at Ripon. Cuth- 
bert held the office of steward, and in this office showed the 
same zeal as in his missions. When travellers arrived 
through the snow, famished and nearly fainting with cold, 
he himself washed their feet and warmed them against his 
bosom, then hastened to the oven to order bread to be 
made ready, if there was not enough. 

Cuthbert returned with his countrymen to Melrose, re- 
sumed his life of missionary preaching, and again met his 
friend and master, the prior Boswell, at whose death, in the 
great pestilence of 664, Cuthbert was elected abbot in his 
place. He had been himself attacked by the disease ; and 
all the monks prayed earnestly that his life might be pre- 
served to them. When he knew that the community had 
spent the night in prayer for him, though he felt no better, 
he cried to himself, with a double impulse of his habitual 
energy, " What am I doing in bed ? It is impossible that 
God should shut His ears to such men. Give me my staff 
and my shoes." And getting up, he immediately began to 
walk, leaning upon his staff. But this sudden cure left him 
subject to weakness, which shortened his life. 

,j, * 


342 Lives of the Saints. [March 20 . 

However, he had not long to remain at Melrose. The 
triumph of Wilfrid and the Roman ritual at the conference 
of Whitby, brought about a revolution in the monastic 
metropolis of Northumbria, and in the mother monastery of 
Melrose, at Lindisfarne. Bishop Colman had returned to 
Iona, carrying with him the bones of S. Aidan, the first 
apostle of the country, and followed by all the monks who 
would not consent to sacrifice their Keltic tradition to 
Roman unity. It was of importance to preserve the holy 
island, the special sanctuary of the country, for the religious 
family of which its foundress had been a member. Abbot 
Eata of Melrose undertook this difficult mission. He 
became abbot of Lindisfarne, and was invested with a kind 
of episcopal supremacy. He took with him the young 
Cuthbert, who was not yet thirty, but whom, however, he 
held alone capable of filling the important office of prior in 
the great insular community. 

The struggle into which Eata and Cuthbert, in their own 
persons, had entered against Wilfrid, on the subject of 
Roman rites, did not point them out as the best men to 
introduce the novelties so passionately defended and insisted 
upon by the new bishop of Northumbria. Notwithstanding, 
everything goes to prove that the new abbot and prior of 
Lindisfarne adopted without reserve the decisions of the 
assembly of Whitby, and took serious pains to introduce 
them into the great Keltic community. Cuthbert, in whom 
the physical energy of a robust organization was united to 
an unconquerable gentleness, employed in this task all the 
resources of his mind and heart. All the rebels had not 
left with bishop Colman ; some monks still remained, who 
held obstinately by their ancient customs. Cuthbert rea- 
soned with them daily in the meetings of the chapter ; his 
desire was to overcome their objections by patience and 
moderation alone ; he bore their reproaches as long as that 

* -# 

, * 

March ao] S. Cuthbert. 343 

was possible, and when his endurance was at an end, raised 
the sitting without changing countenance or tone, and re- 
sumed next morning the course of the debate, without ever 
permitting himself to be moved to anger, or allowing any- 
thing to disturb the inestimable gift of kindness and light 
heartedness which he had received from God. 

But his great desire was the strict observance of the rule 
when once established ; and his historian boasts, as one of his 
most remarkable victories, the obligation he imposed for ever 
upon the monks of Lindisfarne of wearing a simple and uni- 
form dress, in undyed wool, and thus giving up the passionate 
liking of the Anglo-Saxons for varied and brilliant colours. 

During the twelve years which he passed at Lindisfarne, 
the life of Cuthbert was identical with that which he had 
led at Melrose. Within doors this life was spent in the 
severe practice of all the austerities of the cloister, in manual 
labour, united to the punctual celebration of divine worship, 
and such fervour in prayer that he often slept only one 
night in the three or four, passing the others in prayer, and 
in singing the service alone while walking round the aisle to 
keep himself awake. Outside, the same zeal for preaching, 
the same solicitude for the salvation and well-being, tem- 
poral as well as spiritual, of the Northumbrian people, was 
apparent in him. He carried to them the Word of Life ; 
he soothed their sufferings, by curing miraculously a crowd 
of diseases which were beyond the power of the physicians. 
But the valiant missionary specially assailed the diseases of 
the soul, and made use of all the tenderness and all the 
ardour of his own spirit to reach them. When he cele- 
brated mass before the assembled crowd, his visible emotion, 
his inspired looks, his trembling voice, all contributed to 
penetrate and over-power the multitude. The Anglo-Saxon 
Christians, who came in crowds to open their hearts to him 
in the confessional, were still more profoundly impressed. 

* # 


344 Lives of the Saints. [March 20. 

Though he was a bold and inflexible judge of impenitent 
vice, he felt and expressed the tenderest compassion for the 
contrite sinner. He was the first to weep over the sins 
which he pardoned in the name of God ; and he himself 
fulfilled the penances which he imposed as the conditions of 
absolution, thus gaining by his humility the hearts which he 
longed to convert and cure. 

But neither the life of a cenobite, nor the labours of a 
missionary could satisfy the aspirations of his soul after 
perfection. "When he was not quite forty, after holding his 
priorship at Lindisfarne for twelve years, he resolved to 
leave monastic life, and to live as a hermit in a sterile and 
desert island, visible from Lindisfarne, which lay in the 
centre of the Archipelago, south of the holy isle, and 
almost opposite the fortified capital of the Northumbrian 
kings at Bamborough. No one dared to live on this island, 
which was called Fame, in consequence of its being supposed 
to be the haunt of demons. Cuthbert took possession of 
it as a soldier of Christ, victorious over the tyranny of evil, 
and built there a palace worthy of himself, hollowing out of 
the living rock a cell from which he could see nothing but 
the sky, that he might not be disturbed in his contem- 
plations. The hide of an ox suspended before the entrance 
of his cavern, and which he turned according to the 
direction of the wind, afforded him a poor defence against 
the intemperance of that wild climate. His holy historian 
tells us that he exercised sway over the elements and brute 
creation as a true monarch of the land which he had 
conquered for Christ, and with that sovereign empire over 
nature which sin alone has taken from us. He lived on the 
produce of a little field of barley sown and cultivated by his 
own hands, but so small that the inhabitants of the coast 
reported among themselves that he was fed by angels with . 
bread made in Paradise. 

4< * 


In his Hermit's CelL 

March, p. 344.] 

[March ao. 

March o.] S. Cuthbert. 345 

The legends of Northumbria linger lovingly upon the 
solitary sojourn of their great national and popular saint in 
this basaltic isle. They attribute to him the extraordinary 
gentleness and familiarity of a particular species of aquatic 
birds which came when called, allowed themselves to be 
taken, stroked, caressed, and whose down was of remark- 
able softness. In ancient times they swarmed about this 
rock, and they are still to be found there, though much 
diminished in number since curious visitors have come to 
steal their nests and shoot the birds. These sea fowl are 
found nowhere else in the British Isles, and are called the 
Birds of S. Cuthbert. It was he, according to the narrative 
of a monk of the thirteenth century, who inspired them with 
a hereditary trust in man by taking them as companions of 
his solitude, and guaranteeing to them that they should 
never be disturbed in their homes. 

It is he, too, according to the fishers of the surrounding 
islands, who makes certain little shells of the genus En- 
trochus, which are only to be found on this coast, and which 
have received the name of S. Cuthbert's Beads. They 
believe that he is still to be seen by night seated on a rock, 
and using another as an anvil for his work. 

The pious anchorite, however, in condemning himself to 
the trials of solitude, had no intention of withdrawing from 
the cares of fraternal charity. He continued to receive 
frequent visits, in the first place from his neighbours and 
brethren at Lindisfarne, and in addition from all who came 
to consult him upon the state of their souls, as well as to 
seek consolation from him in adversity. The number of 
these pilgrims of sorrow was countless. They came not 
only from the neighbouring shores, but from the most 
distant provinces. Throughout all England the rumour 
spread, that on a desert rock of the Northumbrian coast 
there lived a solitary who was the friend of God, and skilled 

* * 


346 Lives of the Saints. [March 20. 

in the healing of human suffering. In this expectation no 
one was deceived ; no man carried back from the sea- 
beaten island the same burden of suffering, temptation, or 
remorse which he had taken there. Cuthbert had conso- 
lation for all troubles, light for all the sorrowful mysteries 
of life, counsel for all its perils, a helping hand to all the 
hopeless, a heart open to all who suffered. He could draw 
from all terrestrial anguish a proof of the joys of heaven, 
deduce the certainty of those joys from the terrible evan- 
escence of both good and evil in this world, and light up 
again in sick souls the fire of charity the only defence, he 
said, against those ambushes of the old enemy which always 
take our hearts captive when they are emptied of divine and 
brotherly love. 

To make his solitude more accessible to these visitors, 
and above all to his brethren from Lindisfarne, he had 
built some distance from the cave which was his dwelling, 
at a place where boats could land their passengers, a 
kind of parlour and refectory for the use of his guests. 
There he himself met, conversed, and ate with them, 
especially when, as he has himself told, the monks came 
to celebrate with him such a great feast as Christmas. At 
such moments he went freely into all their conversa- 
tions and discussions, interrupting himself from time to 
time to remind them of the necessity of watchfulness and 
prayer. The monks answered him, " Nothing is more 
true; but we have so many days of vigil, of fasts and 
prayers. Let us at least to-day rejoice in the Lord." The 
Venerable Bede, who has preserved to us the precious 
memory of this exchange of brotherly familiarity has not 
disdained to tell us also of the reproaches addressed by 
Cuthbert to his brothers for not eating a fat goose which he 
had hung on the partition-wall of his guest's refectory, in 
order that they might thoroughly fortify themselves before 


* * 

March 20.] S. Cuthbert. 347 

they embarked upon the stormy sea to return to their 

This tender charity and courteous activity were united in 
him to treasures of humility. He would not allow any one 
to suspect him of ranking the life of an anchorite above that 
of a member of a community. " It must not be supposed," 
he said, " because I prefer to live out of reach of every 
secular care, that my life is superior to that of others. The 
life of good cenobites, who obey their abbot in everything, 
and whose time is divided between prayer, work, and fast- 
ing is much to be admired. I know many among them 
whose souls are more pure, and their graces more exalted 
than mine; especially, and in the first rank my dear old 
Boswell, who received and trained me at Melrose in my 

Thus passed, in that dear solitude, and among these 
friendly surroundings, eight pleasant years, the sweetest of 
his life, and precisely those during which all Northumber- 
land was convulsed by the struggle between Wilfrid and 
the new king Egfrid. 

Then came the day upon which the king of the Northum- 
brians, accompanied by his principal nobles, and almost all 
the community of Lindisfarne, landed upon the rock of 
Fame, to beg, kneeling, and with tears, that Cuthbert would 
accept the episcopal dignity to which he had just been 
promoted in the synod of Twyford, presided over by 
archbishop Theodore. He yielded only after a long resist- 
ance, himself weeping when he did so. It was, however, 
permitted to him to delay his consecration for six months, 
till Easter, which left him still a winter in his dear solitude, 
before he went to York, where he was consecrated by the 
primate Theodore, assisted by six bishops. He would not, 
however, accept the diocese of Hexham, to which he had 
been first appointed, but persuaded his friend Eata, the 

* * 

348 Lives of the Saints. [March 20. 

bishop and abbot of Lindisfarne, to give up to him the 
monastic bishopric, where he had already lived so long. 

The diocese of Lindisfarne spread far to the west, much 
beyond Hexham. The Britons of Cumbria who had come 
to be tributaries of the Northumbrian kings, were thus in- 
cluded in it. King Egfrid's deed of gift, in which he gives 
the district of Cartmell, with all the Britons who dwell in it, 
to bishop Cuthbert, still exists. The Roman city of Carlisle, 
transformed into an Anglo-Saxon fortress, was also under 
his sway, with all the surrounding monasteries. 

His new dignity made no difference in his character, nor 
even in his mode of life. He retained his old habits as a 
cenobite, and even as a hermit. In the midst of his 
episcopal pomp he remained always the monk and mis- 
sionary of old. His whole episcopate, indeed, seems to 
bear the character of a mission indefinitely prolonged. He 
went over his vast diocese, to administer confirmation to 
converts, traversing a crowd more attentive and respectful 
than ever, lavishing upon it all kinds of benefits, alms, 
clothing, sermons, miraculous cures penetrating as of old 
into hamlets and distant corners, climbing the hills and 
downs, sleeping under a tent, and sometimes indeed finding 
no other shelter than in the huts of branches, brought from 
the nearest wood to the desert, in which he had made the 
torrent of his eloquence and charity to gush forth. 

Here also we find illustrations, as at all previous periods 
of his life, of the most delightful feature of his good and 
holy soul. In the obscure missionary of Melrose, in the 
already celebrated prior of Lindisfarne, and still more, if 
that is possible, in the powerful and venerated bishop, the 
same heart, overflowing with tenderness and compassion is 
always to be found. The supernatural power given to him 
to cure the most cruel diseases was wonderful. But in his 
frequent and friendly intercourse with the great Anglo- 

* * 

>Jr _>j< 

March*).] S. Cuthbert. 349 

Saxon earls, the ealdormen, as well as with the mixed popu- 
lations of Britons, Picts, Scots, and English, whom he 
gathered under his crosier, the principal feature in the 
numerous and detailed narratives which remain to us, and 
which gives to them a beauty as of youth, always attractive, 
is his intense and active sympathy for those human sorrows 
which in all ages are the same, always so keen, and capable 
of so little consolation. The more familiar the details of 
these meetings between the heart of a saint and true priest, 
and the simple and impetuous hearts of the first English 
Christians, the more attractive do they become, and we 
cannot resist the inclination of presenting to our readers 
some incidents which shew at once the liveliness of do- 
mestic affections among those newly-baptized barbarians 
and their filial and familiar confidence in their master. 
One of the ealdormen of king Egfrid arrived one day in 
breathless haste at Lindisfarne, overwhelmed with grief, his 
wife, a woman as pious and generous as himself, having 
been seized with a fit of violent madness. But he was 
ashamed to disclose the nature of the attack, it seemed to 
him a sort of chastisement from heaven, disgracing a 
creature hitherto so chaste and honoured ; all that he said 
was that she was approaching death ; and he begged that a 
priest might be given him to carry to her the viaticum, and 
that when she died he might be permitted to bury her in 
the holy isle. Cuthbert heard his story, and said to him 
with much emotion, " This is my business ; no one but 
myself can go with you." As they rode on their way 
together, the husband wept, and Cuthbert, looking at him 
and seeing the cheeks of the rough warrior wet with tears, 
divined the whole ; and during all the rest of the journey 
consoled and encouraged him, explaining to him that 
madness was not a punishment of crime, but a trial which 
God inflicted sometimes upon the innocent "Besides," 

* * 

350 Lives of the Saints. [March 20. 

he added, " when we arrive we shall find her cured ; she 
will come to meet us, and will help me to dismount from 
my horse, taking, according to her custom, the reins in her 
hand." And so the event proved ; for, says that historian, 
the demon did not dare to await the coming of the Holy 
Ghost, of which the man of God was full. The noble lady, 
delivered from her bondage, rose as if from a profound 
sleep, and stood on the threshold to greet the holy friend 
of the house, seizing the reins of his horse, and joyfully 
announcing her sudden cure. 

On another occasion, a certain count Henma, from whom 
he sought hospitality during one of his pastoral journeys, 
received him on his knees, thanking him for his visit, but 
at the same time telling him that his wife was at the point 
of death, and he himself in despair. " However," said the 
count, "I firmly believe that were you to give her your 
blessing, she would be restored to health, or at least de- 
livered by a speedy death from her long and cruel suffer- 
ings." The saint immediately sent one of his priests, 
without entering into the sick room himself, to sprinkle her 
with water which he had blessed. The patient was at once 
relieved; and herself came to act as cupbearer to the 
prelate, offering him, in the name of all her family, that cup 
of wine which, under the name of the loving cup, has 
continued since the time of the Anglo-Saxons to form a part 
of all solemn public banquets. 

A contagious disease at another time broke out in one 
part of his diocese, to which Cuthbert immediately betook 
himself. After having visited and consoled all the remain- 
ing inhabitants of one village, he turned to the priest who 
accompanied him, and asked, " Is there still any one sick 
in this poor place, whom I can bless before I depart ?" 
" Then," says the priest, who has preserved this story to us, 
" I showed him in the distance a poor woman bathed in 



March *>.] Cutkbert. 351 

tears, one of whose sons was already dead, and who held 
the other in her arms, just about to render his last breath. 
The bishop rushed to her, and taking the dying child from 
its mother's arms, kissed it first, then blessed it, and restored 
it to the mother, saying to her, as the Son of God said to 
the widow of Nain, ' Woman, weep not ; have no more fear 
or sorrow ; your son is saved, and no more victims to this 
pestilence shall perish here.' " 

No saint of his time or country had more frequent or af- 
fectionate intercourse than Cuthbert with the nuns, whose 
numbers and influence were daily increasing among the 
Anglo-Saxons, and especially in Northumberland. The 
greater part of them lived together in the great monasteries, 
such as Whitby and Coldingham, but some, especially those 
who were widows or of advanced age, lived in their own 
houses or with their relatives. Such was a woman devoted 
to the service of God, who had watched over Cuthbert's 
childhood (for he seems to have been early left an orphan), 
while he kept his sheep on the hills near Melrose, from the 
eighth year of his age until his entrance into the convent at 
the age of fifteen. He was tenderly grateful to her for her 
maternal care, and when he became a missionary, took ad- 
vantage of every occasion furnished to him by his apostolic 
journeys to visit her whom he called his mother, in the 
village where she lived. On one occasion, when he was 
with her, a fire broke out in the village, and the flames, 
increased by a violent wind, threatened all the neighbouring 
roofs. " Fear nothing, dear mother," the young missionary 
said to her ; " this fire will do you no harm ;" and he began 
to pray. Suddenly the wind changed; the village was 
saved, and with it the thatched roof which sheltered the old 
age of her who had protected his infancy. 

From the cottage of his foster-mother he went to the 
palaces of queens. The noble queen of Northumberland, 

* * 

* * 

352 Lives of the Saints. [March 20. 

Etheldreda, the saint and virgin, had a great friendship for 
Cuthbert. She overwhelmed him and his monastery with 
gifts from her possessions, and wishing, besides, to offer 
him a personal token of her close affection, she embroidered 
for him, with her hands (for she embroidered beautifully), a 
stole and maniple covered with gold and precious stones. 
She chose to give him such a present that he might wear 
this memorial of her only in the presence of God, whom 
they both served, and accordingly would be obliged to keep 
her always in mind at the holy sacrifice. 

Cuthbert was on still more intimate terms with the holy 
princesses, who, placed at the head of great communities of 
nuns, and sometimes even of monks, exercised so powerful 
an influence upon the Anglo-Saxon race, and particularly on 
Northumbria. While he was still at Melrose, the increasing 
fame of his sanctity and eloquence brought him often into 
the presence of the sister of king Oswy, who then reigned 
over the two Northumbrian kingdoms. This princess, Ebba, 
was abbess of the double monastery of Coldingham, the 
farthest north of all the religious establishments of North- 
umbria. Cuthbert was the guest for several days of the 
royal abbess, but he did not intermit on this occasion his 
pious exercises, nor, above all, his austerities and long 
prayers by night on the sea-shore. 

To the end of his life he maintained a very intimate and 
constant friendship with another abbess of the blood-royal 
of Northumbria, Elfleda, niece of S. Oswald, and of king 
Oswy, who, though still quite young, exercised an influence, 
much greater than that of Ebba upon the men and the 
events of her time. She had the liveliest affection for the 
prior of Lindisfarne, and at the same time an absolute con- 
fidence in his sanctity. When she was assailed by an alarm- 
ing illness, which fell into paralysis, and found no remedy 
from physicians, she cried, " Ah 1 had I but something 


* * 

March a o.] S. Cuthbert. 353 

which belonged to my dear Cuthbert, I am sure I should be 
cured." A short time after, her friend sent her a linen 
girdle, which she hastened to put on, and in three days she 
was healed. 

Shortly before his death, and during his last pastoral visi- 
tation, Cuthbert went to see Elfleda in the neighbourhood 
of the great monastery of Whitby, to consecrate a church 
which she had built there, and to converse with her for the 
last time. They dined together, and during the meal, seeing 
his knife drop from his trembling hand in the abstraction of 
supernatural thoughts, she had a last opportunity of admir- 
ing his prophetic intuition, and his constant care for the 
salvation of souls. The fatigue of the holy bishop, who 
said, laughingly, " I cannot eat all day long, you must give 
me a little rest " the eagerness and pious curiosity of the 
young abbess, anxious to know and do everything, who 
rushes up breathless during the ceremony of the dedication 
to ask from the bishop a memento for a monk whose death 
she had just heard of all these details form a picture com- 
plete in its simplicity, upon which the charmed mind can 
repose amid the savage habits and wild vicissitudes of the 
struggle, then more violent than ever, between the North- 
umbrians and the Picts, the Saxons and the Kelts. 

But the last of all his visits was for another abbess less 
illustrious and less powerful than the two princesses of the 
blood, but also of high birth, and not less dear to his heart, 
if we may judge by the mark of affection which he gave 
her on his deathbed. This was Verca, abbess of one of 
that long line of monasteries which traced the shores of the 
Northern Sea. Her convent was on the mouth of the 
Tyne, the river which divided the two Northumbrian king- 
doms. She gave Cuthbert a magnificent reception ; but the 
bishop was ill, and after the mid-day meal, which was usual 
in all the Benedictine monasteries, he became thirsty. Wine 

vol. in 23 
* * 

* . 

354 Lives of the Saints. [March o. 

and beer were offered to him, yet he would take nothing 
but water, but this water, after it had touched his lips, 
seemed to the monks of Tynemouth, who drank the re- 
mainder, the best wine they had ever tasted. Cuthbert, 
who retained nothing of the robust health of his youth, 
already suffered from the first attacks of the disease which 
carried him off. His pious friend was no doubt struck by 
his feebleness, for she offered him, as the last pledge ot 
spiritual union, a piece of very fine linen to be his shroud. 
Two short years of the episcopate had sufficed to consume 
his strength. 

After celebrating the feast of Christmas, in 686, with the 
monks of Lindisfarne, the presentiment of approaching 
death determined him to abdicate, and to return to his 
isle of Fame, there to prepare for the last struggle. He 
lived but two months, in the dear and pleasant solitude 
which was his supreme joy, tempering its sweetness by re- 
doubled austerities. When his monks came to visit him in 
his isle, which storms often made inaccessible for weeks 
together, they found him thin, tremulous, and almost ex- 
hausted. One of them, who has given us a narrative of the 
end of his life, revived him a little by giving him warm wine 
to drink, then seating himself by the side of the worn-out 
bishop upon his bed of stone, to sustain him, received from 
his beloved lips the last confidences and last exhortations 
of the venerated master. The visits of his monks were 
very sweet to him, and he lavished upon them to the last 
moment proofs of his paternal tenderness and of his minute 
care for their spiritual and temporal well-being. His last 
illness was long and painful. He fixed beforehand the 
place of his burial near the oratory which he had hollowed 
in the rock, and at the foot of a cross which he had himself 
planted. "I would fain repose," said he, "in this spot, 
where I have fought my little battle for the Lord, where 1 

% ^ 

March ao.] S. Cuthbert. 355 

desire to finish my course, and from whence I hope that my 
merciful Judge will call me to the crown of righteousness. 
You will bury me, wrapped in the linen which I have kept 
for my shroud, out of love for the abbess Verca, the friend 
of God, who gave it to me." 

He ended his holy life preaching peace, humility, and 
the love of that unity which he thought he had succeeded 
in establishing in the great Anglo-Keltic sanctuary, the new 
abbot of which, Herefrid, begged of him a last message as 
a legacy to his community. " Be unanimous in your coun- 
sels," the dying bishop said to him in his faint voice ; " live 
in good accord with the other servants of Christ ; despise 
none of the faithful who ask your hospitality ; treat them 
with friendly familiarity, not esteeming yourself better than 
others, who have the same faith, and often the same life. 
But have no communion with those who withdraw from the 
unity of Catholic peace, either by the illegal celebration of 
Easter, or by practical ill-doing. Remember always, if you 
must make a choice, that I infinitely prefer that you should 
leave this place, carrying my bones with you, rather than 
that you should remain here bent under the yoke of wicked 
heresy. Learn, and observe with diligence, the Catholic de- 
crees of the fathers, and also the rules of monastic life 
which God has deigned to give you by my hands. I know 
that many have despised me in my life, but after my death 
you will see that my doctrine has not been despicable." 

This effort was the last. He lost the power of speech, 
received the last sacraments in silence, and died raising his 
eyes and arms to heaven, at the hour when it was usual to 
sing matins, in the night of the 20th of March, 687. One 
of his attendants immediately mounted to the summit of 
the rock, where the lighthouse is now placed, and gave to 
the monks of Lindisfarne, by waving a lighted torch, the 
signal agreed upon to announce the death of the greatest 

* * 


356 Lives of the Saints. [March 20. 

saint who has given glory to that famous isle. He was but 
fifty, and had worn the monastic habit for thirty-five years. 

Among many friends, he had one who was at once his 
oldest and most beloved, a priest called Herbert, who lived 
as an anchorite in an island of Lake Derwentwater. Every 
year Herbert came from his peaceful lake to visit his friend 
in the other island, beaten and undermined continually by 
the great waves of the Northern Sea ; and upon that wild 
rock, to the accompaniment of winds and waves, they passed 
several days together, in a tender solitude and intimacy, 
talking of the life to come. When Cuthbert, then a bishop, 
came for the last time to Carlisle, Herbert seized the oppor- 
tunity, and hastened to refresh himself at that fountain of 
eternal benefits which flowed for him from the holy and 
tender heart of his friend. " My brother," the bishop said 
to him, "thou must ask me now all that thou wantest to know, 
for we shall never meet again in this world." At these 
words Herbert fell at his feet in tears. " I conjure thee," 
he cried, " do not leave me on this earth behind thee ; re- 
member my faithful friendship, and pray God that, after 
having served Him together in this world, we may pass 
into His glory together." Cuthbert threw himself on his 
knees at his friend's side, and after praying for some minutes, 
said to him, ' Rise, my brother, and weep no more ; God 
has granted to us that which we have both asked from Him." 
And, in fact, though they never saw each other again here 
below, they died on the same day and at the same hour ; 
the one in his isle bathed by the peaceful waters of a soli- 
tary lake, the other upon his granite rock, fringed by the 
ocean foam ; and their souls, says Bede, reunited by that 
blessed death, were carried together by the angels into the 
eternal kingdom. This coincidence deeply touched the 
Christians of Northumbria, and was long engraven in their 
memory. Seven centuries later, in 1374, the bishop of 


* g 

March*,.] 6*. Cuthbert. 357 

Carlisle appointed that a mass should be said on the anni- 
versary of the two saints, in the island where the Cumbrian 
anchorite died, and granted an indulgence of forty days to 
all who crossed the water to pray there in honour of the 
two friends. 

After many translations, the body of S. Cuthbert found 
repose in Durham cathedral, where it rested in a magnifi- 
cent shrine till the reign of Henry VIII., when the royal 
commissioners visited the cathedral with the purpose of de- 
molishing all shrines. The following is a condensed account 
of this horrible profanation, given by a writer of the period, 
or shortly after 1 : 

" The sacred shrine of holy S. Cuthbert was defaced at 
the visitation held at Durham, by Dr. Lee, Dr. Henly, and 
Mr. Blithman. They found many valuable jewels. After 
the spoil of his ornaments, they approached near to his 
body, expecting nothing but dust and ashes ; but perceiving 
the chest he lay in strongly bound with iron, the goldsmith, 
with a smith's great forge hammer, broke it open, when they 
found him lying whole, uncorrupt, with his face bare, and 
his beard as of a fortnight's growth, and all the vestments 
about him, as he was accustomed to say mass. When the 
goldsmith perceived he had broken one of his legs in break- 
ing open the chest, he was sore troubled at it, and cried, 
4 Alas ! I have broken one of his legs ' ; which Dr. Henly 
hearing, called to him, and bade him cast down his bones. 
The other answered, he could not get them asunder, for the 
sinews and skin held them so that they would not separate. 
Then Dr. Lee stept up to see if it were so, and turning 
about, spake in Latin to Dr. Henly that he was entire, 
though Dr. Henly, not believing his words, called again to 

' " A description or briefe declaration of all ye auntient monuments, ice, written 
in 1593." but this seems to have been written originally In Latin somewhat earlier. 
It has been several times republished, lastly by Sanderson, in 1767. 

* . 

* _ 

358 Lives of the Saints. [March ao . 

have his bones cast down. Dr. Lee answered, ' If you will 
not believe me, come up yourself and see him.' Then Dr. 
Henly stept up to him, and handled him, and found he lay 
whole ; then he commanded them to take him down, and 
so it happened, that not only his body was whole and un- 
corrupted, but the vestments wherein his body lay, and 
wherein he was accustomed to say mass, were fresh, safe, 
and not consumed. Whereupon the visitors commanded 
him to be carried into the revestry, till the king's pleasure 
concerning him was further known ; and upon the receipt 
thereof, the prior and monks buried him in the ground under 
the place where his shrine was exalted." 

Harpsfield, who flourished at the time, and who was a 
most faithful and zealous Catholic, gives a similar account ; 
he, however, does not say that the leg bone was broken, 
but that the flesh was wounded ; and that the body was 
entire except that " the prominent part of the nose, I know 
not why, was wanting." And he adds that, " a grave was 
made in the ground, in that very spot previously occupied 
by his precious shrine, and there the body was deposited. 
And not only his body, but even the vestments in which it 
was clothed, were perfectly entire, and free from all taint 
and decay. There was upon his finger a ring of gold, orna- 
mented with a sapphire, which I myself once saw and 
handled and kissed. There were present, among others, 
when this sacred body was exposed to daylight, Doctor 
Whithead, the president of the monastery, Dr. Sparke, Dr. 
Tod, and William Wilam, the keeper of the sacred shrine. 
And thus it is abundantly manifest, that the body of 
S. Cuthbert remained inviolate and uncontaminated eight 
hundred and forty years." 

In May, 1827, the place which these and other authori- 
ties had indicated as that where the body of S. Cuthbert 
was buried, was very carefully examined, and the coffin and 

4f g, 

# -* 

March *>.] S. Cuthbert. 359 

a body were exhumed. The Anglo-Saxon sculpture, and 
everything about and within this coffin, left no doubt that 
what was discovered was the ancient coffin, the vestments, 
and relics which had accompanied the body of S. Cuthbert, 
But the body by no means agreed with the minute accounts 
of S. Cuthbert There was evidence that it had not been 
uncorrupt when buried, and there was no trace of any injury 
done to the leg-bone. Hence it is difficult not to conclude 
that the garments and shrine were those of Cuthbert, but 
that the body was not his, but was one which had been 
substituted for it And when we remember that the in- 
corrupt body was left in the vestry under the charge of the 
prior and monks till the king's pleasure could be ascertained 
as to what was to be done with it, there can be little doubt 
that they who so highly valued this sacred treasure substi- 
tuted for it another body, which they laid in the pontifical 
vestments of Cuthbert, which was buried as his in his 
coffin. Where the prior and monks concealed the holy 
relics, if this conjecture prove true, it is impossible to state. 
That there is ground for this conjecture may be concluded 
from the existence of a tradition to this effect, and it is said 
that the true place of the interment of the saint is only 
known to three members of the Benedictine Order, who, as 
each one dies, choose a successor. Another line of tra- 
dition is said to descend through the Vicars Apostolic, now 
Roman Catholic bishops of the district This is the belief 
to which reference is made in Marmion. 

The supposed place of interment indicated by the secular 
tradition, (under the stairs of the bell-tower), has been care- 
fully examined. No remains were found, and it is evident 
that the ground had never been disturbed since the construc- 
tion of the tower. 1 There can be no question as to the 

1 This secular tradition was preserved in the following words : " Subter gradus 
saxeos (secundum ct tcrtium) climacis ascendcntis et duccnt is crga turrim campan- 

* ^ 

* _ * 

360 Lives of the Saints. [March ao. 

genuineness of all the articles found in the tomb, for they 
exactly agree with accounts of the things contained in the 
shrine, described by pre-reformation writers; but the 
genuineness of the body is more than questionable. 
Mr. Raine, who was present at the investigation, and 
has written an account of it, " S. Cuthbert ; with an 
Account of the State in which his Remains were found 
upon the Opening of his Tomb in Durham Cathedral, 
in the year 1827," Durham 1828, endeavours to establish 
their identity by repudiating as absurd the account 
of the contemporary writers who assert that the body was 
uncorrupt, and of the breaking of the leg-bone, though he 
accepts all their other statements. 

amm in templo cathedrali civitatis Dunelmensis, prope horologium grande quod 
locatur in angulo australi faniejusdem, sepultus jacet thesaurus pretiosus, (corpus 
S. Cuthberti.)" The earliest notice of such a tradition is in Serenus Cressy, (1688), 
Church History, p. 902. The next in two MSS. in Downside College by F. Mannock 
(1740), who states that he had heard it from F. Casse (1730.) Both these statements 
pointed to the removal of the body in the time of Henry VIII. The next notice of it 
is in 1828, when F. Gregory Robinson wrote to Lingard, (see Lingard's Remarks, 
p. $0), but in this account the removal was described as taking place in Mary's time. 
The secresy was partly broken when, in 1800, the sketch of the cathedral which exists 
in the archives of the Northern (R.C) Province was allowed to be seen. Lingard's 
tradition (Anglo Saxon Church, ii. p. 80), about the exchange of S. Cuthbert's body 
for another skeleton is unknown to the Benedictines, who assert that they possess 
the secret. It is said that the Benedictine tradition concerning the site does not agree 
with the secular. What started the diggings in 1867, under the stairs, was that a 
hereditary Roman Catholic of Gateshead became a Protestant, and gave up a 
small piece of paper on which was written the above secular tradition, "suiter 
gradus, &c." His father or grandfather had been servant to a Vicar Apostolic, 
after whose death he had some of his clothes, among which was a waistcoat, inside 
which the above was secured. It was ascertained that this was not a hoax, and 
the late Dean Waddington invited some of the fathers from Ushaw over, and the 
head of the English Benedictines to see the diggings. It was supposed that the 
"precious treasure" was something else, perhaps the Black Rood of Scotland, 
containing a portion of the true cross, and that the words above in parenthesis, 
(corpus Sti. Cuthberti) are a gloss. However they dug, but found nothing but 
concrete and rock. 

^ -ft 

* * 

March o.j S. Wulfram of Sens. 361 

(a.d. 741.) 

[Gallican and Roman Martyrologies, Also those of Usuardus and 
Wyon. Authority : A life written by a contemporary, Jonas, a monk of 
the same abbey of Fontenelle to which S. Wulfram retired, of this there 
are several editions, some much interpolated. Some of these additions are 
gross errors. According to the life which Surius publishes, Jonas dedicated 
it to his abbot Bainus. But Bainus died seven years after Wulfram had 
undertaken his mission. Possibly Bainus is an error of the copyist for 
Wando, who translated the body of S. Wulfram in 742. In the prologue, 
moreover, Owen, or Ovus, the lad whom S. Wulfram had resuscitated after 
he had been hung, is quoted as the authority for much of what the bishop 
did in Friesland, Owen being then priest in the abbey of Fontenelle. This 
indicates the date of the life as being about the time of the translation.] 

Wulfram was born at Milly, three leagues from Fontaine- 
bleau, of a noble and wealthy family. His father, whose 
name was Fulbert, was held in great esteem by Dagobert I. 
and Clovis II. on account of the signal services he had 
rendered them in their wars. Although brought up, and 
constantly engaged in the camp, Fulbert took care that his 
son should receive an excellent education in letters; and 
as Wulfram exhibited a marked partiality for the clerical 
over the secular life, he suffered him to take holy orders. 
Wulfram was not, however, allowed to follow the bent of 
his wishes in every particular, for notwithstanding his desire 
to live a quiet secluded life of study, he was called in 670 to 
serve God in the court of Clothaire III. and Thierry III., 
kings of the Franks, till the death of his father. About the 
same time, Lambert, bishop of Sens, having died, Wulfram 
was unanimously elected to fill his room, by clergy and 
people, and the royal consent having been obtained, he was 
consecrated to the see of Sens, in 683. But "the Spirit 
breatheth where He wills, and thou canst not tell whence 
He cometh and whither He goeth." Moved by a divine 
call which could not be gainsaid, after having occupied the 

* * 

362 Lives of the Saints. [March . 

see for only two years and a half, Wulfram abdicted his 
charge in 685, probably moved by religious scruples as to 
the canonicity of his appointment, for S. Amaeus, the rightful 
bishop of Sens, in the banishment to which he was sent by 
Thierry III. in 674, had survived the appointment of 
Lambert. Wulfram, freed from his charge, at once under- 
took a mission to Friesland. He conferred on his design 
with S. Ansbert, then archbishop of Rouen, after having 
been abbot of S. Vandrille. 1 By his advice he retired for a 
while into that abbey of Fontenelle to prepare for his aposto- 
late to the Frisians, in solitude, with prayer. After awhile he 
came forth refreshed, and having divested himself of his 
property at Milly, his native place, which he gave to the 
abbey of S. Vandrille, that he might go unimpeded into the 
battle ; and having obtained from the abbot, Hilbert, some 
monks to accompany him and assist him in his mission, he 
embarked at Caudebec, in 700, spread the white sail to the 
breeze, and flew out into the sea. 

" To the ship's bow he ascended, 
By his choristers attended, 
Round him were the tapers lighted, 
And the sacred incense rose. 

*' On the bow stood bishop Wulfram, 
In his robes, as one transfigured, 
And the crucifix he planted 
High amid the rain and mist. 

" Then with holy water sprinkled 
All the ship ; the mass-bells tinkled ; 
Loud the monks around him chanted, 
Loud he read the Evangelist." 2 

But as the deacon was wiping the paten, during mass, 
it slipped from his fingers, and glanced down through a 
green wave and was lost. Then he uttered a cry of dismay, 
for they had no other paten with them in the vessel. But 

1 Anciently Fontenelle. * Longfellow's Saga of king Olaf. 
* -* 

* * 

March *>.] S. Wulfram of Sens. 363 

Wulfram turning himself about from the altar in the ship's- 
bows, bade him thrust his hand over the side into the water. 
And he did so, nothing doubting, and brought up the paten, 
dripping with sea-water. This paten was preserved in the mon- 
astery of S. Vandrille till the year 162 1, when it was stolen. 

Now when they had come into Friesland, Wulfram went 
before the king, Radbod, and preached boldly to him the 
Word of God. The king listened, and allowed the mission- 
aries to settle in the land, and to declare the Gospel of the 
Kingdom to his subjects, but he himself put off giving 
attention to what they taught till a more convenient season. 
And as Wulfram dwelt in the land, and saw it wholly given 
up to the worship of false gods, and to the performance of 
cruel sacrifices, his spirit was stirred within him, and he 
denounced the hideous offerings of children made to the 
false gods. It was then the custom among the Frisians to 
offer to Wodin their sons, by hanging them on gibbets. This 
method of sacrifice was common to all the Scandinavian 
and Teutonic peoples. One horrible instance is related, for 
instance, in one of the old Norse Sagas, of a mother thus 
sacrificing her child to Wodin to obtain from him the secret 
of brewing better ale than the second wife of her husband, 
in order that she might thus be able to attach him to herself 
more closely. 

Wulfram preached in vain, king Radbod replied to all his 
remonstrances that it was the custom of the country, and 
that he could not, or would not alter it And this was the 
way in which the victims were chosen. Lots were cast on 
the children of the nobles, and those who were taken, were 
hung on a tree or gibbet, to Wodin, or else were fastened 
to a post between tides, and left to drown with the rising 
flood, as an offering to Ran, the sea-goddess, to stay her 
from bringing her waves over the low, flat land, and sub- 
merging it 

* _ * 

364 Lives of the Saints. [March 20, 

Hearing that a child was about to be hung, Wulfram 
hasted to the spot, but was unable to prevent the perpe- 
tration of the sacrifice. Then after the boy had been 
hanging two hours, the rope broke, and the bishop casting 
himself on the body, cried to the Lord, and He heard his 
voice, and the child revived, and the bishop restored him to 
his parents. 1 And on another occasion, he was present 
when two youths, sons of a widow, were being sacrificed to 
the sea. He saw the poor lads waiting on the wet sand, 
and shrieking with fear as the waves tumbled at every 
instant nearer to them, whilst all the people looked on, 
shouting to drown their cries, upon the dyke. Then 
Wulfram, unable to endure the spectacle, knelt down, and 
covered his eyes, and prayed. And when he looked up, 
he saw the sea was washing around the youths, but had not 
touched them. So he prayed more fervently, and the 
people standing on the dyke shouted, to drown the shrieks 
of the young men ; and Wulfram looked, and they were up 
to their chins in water, battling with the angry waves. Then 
Radbod called to the bishop and said, " See ! there be the 
youths, go, save them if thou canst." Then Wulfram rose, 
and made the sign of the cross, and cast his mantle from 
him, and went boldly down to the sea, and walked thereon 
without fear, trusting in the Lord, and he took the two 
children, one by each hand, and he came to the land lead- 
ing them, with foot unwet 

Then the people were filled with wonder, and a great fear 
fell upon them, and many renounced their false gods, and 
came and submitted their necks to the sweet yoke of 
Christ. King Radbod also, convinced against his will, 
consented to receive baptism. But as he was stepping 
down into the water, he suddenly halted, with one foot in 

1 The boy was afterwards sent to Fontenelle, and he is the authority for the 
events of S. Wulfram's mission in Friesland. 

* ^ 

* _ 5, 

March 20.] .S". Wulfram of Sens. 365 

the stream, and asked, " Where are my ancestors, are they 
in the heaven thou promisest to me ?" 

" Be not deceived," answered Wulfram, " God knoweth 
the number of His elect. Thy ancestors have died with- 
out baptism, therefore they have certainly received the 
sentence of damnation." It was an injudicious answer. It 
is by no means certain that those who have not had an 
opportunity of knowing the truth, but have lived up to the 
light God has given them, are eternally lost The result of 
this harsh answer was, that Radbod withdrew his foot from 
the water, saying, "I will go to hell with my ancestors, 
rather than be in heaven without them." It is only just to 
remark that this story is not to be found in the most correct 
and ancient copies of the life by Jonas of Fontenelle. 

After about twenty years of labour in Friesland, his health 
failed, and he returned in haste to Fontenelle, to die 
amongst the brethren in the peace of a cloister. He died 
on March 20th, in the year 720. Nine years after, Wando, 
abbot of Fontenelle, took the body from its grave, and 
translated to the church of S. Peter. In 1058, it was taken 
to Notre Dame at Abbeville, and this church in course of 
years, assumed the name of S. Wulfram. The sacred relics 
remain there, enclosed in a rich shrine. An annual pro- 
cession is made on this day at Abbeville with the shrine. 

(a.d. 797.) 

[Commemorated by the Greeks. Authority : The Acts by S. Stephen 
of S. Sabas, an eye-witness of what he relates. The account in the Greek 
Menology is full of inaccuracies, which proves that the compiler of it had 
not seen the Acts, but wrote his account from tradition.] 

The lauraof S. Sabas between Jerusalem and Bethlehem 
stood in a situation exposed to hostile attack. In the 

* * 

* * 

366 Lives of the Saints. [March x>. 

invasion of Palestine by Chosroes, the monastery did not 
escape, but yielded up sixty martyrs to God. In 797, 
twenty more perished in an incursion of the Arabs. The 
account of this latter catastrophe, written by Stephen, a 
monk of that monastery, at the time, and one of those who 
escaped, is full of interest It is far too long to be inserted 
here. We have only space for a brief outline of the events. 
The Arabs had been devastating the whole country for some 
time past, and news of the ruin of the laura of S. Charito 
had reached the monks of the laura of S. Sabas. A laura is 
a collection of separate cells, of caves, or huts, the monks 
assembling only in the church; whereas a monastery consists 
of one or more large buildings, in which the monks live in 
community. On hearing of the pillage of the laura of 
S. Charito, the brethren assembled in the church to pray 
God to deliver them from a like infliction, or should He 
deem expedient to send it upon them, to strengthen them 
to meet it manfully. As they were in prayer, a brother 
who was on the look-out, came running to tell that he saw a 
party of some sixty Arabs, armed with lances and bows, 
galloping over a sand hill in the direction of the laura. It 
was the 13th of March, and the second hour of the morn- 
ing. Then there went forth a deputation of the monks to 
meet the marauders, and to beseech them to spare the 
defenceless brethren. But they were greeted with shouts of 
derision, and were driven before the arrows and stones of 
the robbers back into the church, some of their number 
mortally wounded, and in all, thirty were wounded. The 
physician Thomas extracted the arrows and bound up their 
wounds, as they were brought in. But he had little space 
for attending to them, before the Arabs came into the laura, 
and gathering thorns into bundles, piled them about the 
cells and set fire to them. They were preparing to do the 
same to the church, when an alarm was given that succour 

* * 



March 20.] Twenty Monks at S. Sabas. 367 

to the monks was at hand, and in an instant the Arabs had 
vanished over the sand hills. 

Throughout the following week the monks were kept in 
incessant alarm and expectation of a renewed attack. Mes- 
sengers came to them from the old Laura, to warn them 
that a band of ruffians had attacked it and was on its way 
to the Laura of S. Sabas. The news reached them on 
Saturday night late, as they were keeping the vigil of the 
Lord's day in the Church. Their terror and anxiety was 
greatly increased somewhat later, when an old white-haired 
monk arrived from the monastery of S. Euthymius, bearing 
a letter from the abbot, to tell them that a second party of 
Arabs was on its way to attack them. A bright full moon was 
in the sky, shining in at the church windows, and by its light 
the frightened monks deciphered the epistle. Some fled 
over the desert, vainly seeking hiding places ; some retired 
to their cells, some remained praying in the Church. Here 
occurs a great gap in the history, a whole sheet of the MS. 
is lost, and we next hear of the Arabs driving the flying 
monks before them with bow, and spear, and club, towards 
the church, scouring the desert around and catching the 
runaways, penetrating into the cells, and dragging them 

John, the guest-master, was found among some rocks, 
the barbarians pelted him with stones, then ham-strung 
him, and dragged him down the rocks by his feet to the 
church, till, mangled and bleeding, he fainted. Sergius, the 
sacristan, had concealed the sacred vessels, and had sought 
refuge in flight, but was caught, and because he refused to 
surrender the holy vessels, was hacked to pieces by the 
barbarians. A number of the monks had secreted them- 
selves in a cave. The Arabs ran into it, thrusting their 
swords and spears into every corner, and one of the monks, 
a young man, named Patricius, resolved to sacrifice himself 



368 Lives of the Saints. [March 20 . 

to save the others. He, therefore, cried out that he would 
surrender, and, coming forth, delivered himself up. The 
robbers, supposing he was the only one there concealed, 
left the others unmolested. He was one of those who were 
afterwards suffocated. 

Now there was a winding cave under the guest-house, 
which was used for various purposes. Into this a number 
of monks were driven, and they were threatened with death 
unless they would ransom their lives by surrendering the 
Eucharistic vessels and vestments. This they refused to 
do. Then the Arabs bade them point out which were the 
heads of the community. They replied, with truth, that the 
abbot was nowabsent, he having gone away on some business 
a few weeks before. Then they insisted on the physician 
being indicated to them, for they had an idea that he was 
possessed of money. Again the monks refused to declare 
which of them was physician. Then the Arabs thrust them 
all into the cave, and choking up the entrance with thorns 
and grass, set fire to it. And when there had been a blaze 
and smoke for some little while, they shouted to the monks 
within to come forth ; so the unfortunate men came through 
the blaze and over the red coals, and fell panting for breath 
on the ground. Their hair, beards, eyelashes, and their 
garments were burnt, and their faces were discoloured 
with smoke. The Arabs again bade them deliver up their 
superiors, and as they again refused, they drove them back 
through the flames into the cave, and heaped on more fuel, 
and kept up the blaze, till all within had been suffocated. 
Then they dispersed themselves over the Laura, and entered 
every cell, and took from them all that they wanted, and 
laded the camels belonging to the monks with the spoil that 
they had found, and departed. 

And after many hours, the brethren who had escaped 
came forth from their places of concealment, and sought 

* * 

* -* 

March no.j ,5". Ambrose of Sienna. 369 

water and food to satisfy their appetites ; and they scattered 
the embers of the great fire, and as the smoke rolled forth 
from the cavern, and a pure air entered, they lighted tapers 
and went in, at the setting of the sun, and found all the 
fathers therein dead, with their faces to the ground, and in 
various attitudes, some as though creeping into a corner in 
quest of air. And they made great lamentation over them, 
and drew them forth and washed them, and buried them 
with reverence. 

(a.d. 1287.) 

[At Sienna on the Saturday before Passion Sunday ; but by the Domini- 
can Order on March 22nd ; the Roman Martyrology on March 20th, the 
day of his death. He was beatified by Gregory XV. His Acts were 
written by friars Gisberti, Recuperato di Petromala, Aldobrandini Papa- 
roni, and Olvado, by order of Honorius IV., the then reigning pope, from 
documents transmitted to them within a month of the decease of S. Am- 
brose. These originals also exist, and have been printed along with the 
Acts by the Bollandists.] 

S. Ambrose was of the family of the Sansedoni, on his 
father's side, and of the Stribelini on that of his mother, 
both illustrious in Sienna. He was deformed at his birth, 
his legs and feet being twisted, but as his nurse was hearing 
mass one holy-day, in the church of the Dominicans, and 
was praying before some holy relics, afterwards exposed to 
the veneration of the faithful, the child suddenly pronounced 
the name of Jesus thrice, and lost at the same moment 
every trace of deformity. 

As he grew up, his play was connected with holy things. 

Till he was seven, he amused himself with carving little 

crosses, making little oratories, imitating with other children 

the processions and psalmody of the Church. When he 

grew older, he obtained his father's consent to his lodging 

pilgrims. He furnished for the purpose a room in the house, 

and went to the gate of the city every Saturday to bring 

vol. in. 24 
* * 

* : * 

370 Lives of the Saints. [March 90 . 

home with him the first five pilgrims whom he encountered. 
He then washed their feet, and ministered in every way to 
their comforts. On the morrow he went with them to mass, 
and guided them about the town to all the places of devo- 
tion. Every Sunday evening after vespers he visited the 
hospital, and every Friday the prison. He continued these 
holy exercises till he was seventeen, when he entered the 
Dominican order. He made his full profession next year, 
in 1238, and was then sent to Paris and to Cologne to pro- 
secute his studies. At Cologne he became the pupil of 
Albertus Magnus, along with the great S. Thomas Aquinas. 
When his education was complete, he taught theology in 
Paris for two years, and then preached in France, Germany, 
and Italy. The people of Sienna having taken part with 
Mansfeld, the bastard of Frederick II., who was in hostility 
with the pope, were placed under an interdict. Ambrose 
undertook to reconcile them with the Holy See, and was so 
successful, that the Siennese have chosen him, on account of 
this eminent service rendered them, as the patron of their city. 
During the forty-nine years of his monastic life, he main- 
tained the utmost self-discipline. He never slept more than 
four hours every night. After matins he remained for two 
hours in prayer in the choir, and spent the rest of the night 
in study till prime. He preached with singular fire and 
action. In the Lent of 1286, he broke a blood-vessel as 
he was preaching, and was obliged to leave the pulpit. The 
haemorrhage ceasing next day, he insisted on resuming his 
sermon, but the vessel burst again, and he lost so much 
blood that he felt his hour was at hand. He made his 
general confession, and having received the last sacraments, 
breathed forth his pure soul in the sixty-sixth year of his 
age, on March 20th, 1286. 


March a ,.] 5*. Seraphn, B. of Thmuis. 371 

March 21. 

SS. Sirapion, Mont, and Companions, MM, at Alexandria. 

SS. Martyrs of Alexandria, in the reign of Constantine, a.d. 367. 

S. Serapion, B. of Thmuis, 4/A cent. 

S. Lupicinus, Ab. of Con date, circ. a.d. 430. 

S. Enda, Ab. in Aran-more, circ. a.d. $40. 

S. BtNEDicT, Ab. of Monte Catsino, a.d. 543. 

S. Elias, B. of Sion in the Palais. 


(4TH CENT.) 

rRoman Martyrology. In the ancient Latin Martyrologies is found the 
mention of S. Serapion, Monk and Martyr, and many Companions at 
Alexandria ; but Baronius, instead, inserted in the Modern Roman Martyr- 
ology another and wholly different Serapion, bishop of Thmuis and 
Confessor in one of the Arian persecutions, when S. Athanasius suffered 
their pursuit. This Serapion is mentioned by S. Athanasius.] 

[ERAPION bishop of Thmuis, in Egypt, a friend 

of S. Antony the Great, and a champion of S. 

Athanasius, wrote an epistle to the great defender 

of orthodoxy, and another on the death of Arius, 

together with treatises on the titles of the Psalms, and on 

Manichaeism. He is said by S. Jerome to have suffered 

for his zeal in the orthodox cause, under Constantius, when 

the Arians were in power. 

(about a.d. 430.) 

fRoman and Benedictine Martyrologies ; that of Usuardus, and that 
attributed to Bede. Authority : A life by a contemporary, a monk of 
Condate, " Ego adhuc puerulus," he says. This life is very curious from 
its barbarous Latin, teeming as it does with words and phrases adopted 
from the Burgundian language. Also a life of SS. Romanus and Lupicinus 
by S. Gregory of Tours, written in the 5th cent, see Feb. 28th.] 

Lupicinus and his younger brother Romanus, seeking 
* * 

* -* 

372 Lives of the Saints. [March ax. 

solitude, climbed the rocks among the pines of the Jura, 
and established themselves in the wilderness of Joux, living 
on wild fruits and plants. They were both young ; and 
they soon found that it was impossible for them to maintain 
life on the scanty food yielded by the mountains. They 
therefore descended to the plains, and entered the cottage 
of a poor woman, and told her how they had tried to serve 
God in the midst of the rocks, but had found such a life in- 
supportable. The woman sharply rebuked them for having 
put their hand to the plough, and then turned back, and 
they filled with shame, turned their faces once more to the 
mountains, and penetrated its recesses. And then many 
came to them from all quarters, and the grain and herbs 
they had sown and planted sprang up, and they cut down 
trees, and built the monastery of Condate. 1 But soon the 
place was too strait for them, and a colony went forth, and 
founded Lauconne, also in the Jura, and another was 
established at Romainmoutier. Lupicinus was abbot, and 
all obeyed him. He is said by S. Gregory of Tours to 
have been very austere and stern in the maintenance of 
discipline, so that from his harshness some brethren fled, 
but the contemporary writer gives a very different picture of 
him. A story of his severity, with which the mildness of 
his brother contrasts pleasingly, has been related in the life 
of S. Romanus (Feb. 28th). 

But if he could be harsh at times, at others he overflowed 
with gentleness. 

He wore a rough garment made of the skins of beasts 
stitched together, and wooden shoes, or rather sandals. 2 
When others retired to rest after singing vespers, he re- 
treated to his oratory, however cold the weather, meditating 

1 Afterwards S. Ouyan, and then S, Claude, after the bishop of Besancon, who 
reformed it in 635, 

* I.ignea sola, quae vulgo soccos morasteria vocitant Gallicana, continuato est 

* " & 

(j, Ifc 

March 21.] S. Lupicinus. 373 

and dozing till the midnight office ; in the quaint Latin of 
his biographer it is said that he entered the oratory " maedi- 
taturus potius quam repausaturus " (to meditate rather than 
to repose.) 

A pretty story is told of the tender care of the abbot 
Lupicinus for a monk whose exaggerated fasting had 
brought him to such a pass that it was thought he could not 
live many days. This man, who was younger than Lu- 
picinus, not content with the strict rule of the house, refused 
to eat and drink till after vespers, and then he would touch 
nothing but the crumbs which the brethren had let fall on 
the floor, which he collected in his palm, and moistened 
with a little water. The result was that he was struck down 
as with paralysis, and lay unable to move on his pallet, 
ghastly, and scarce breathing. This monk was so set on 
maintaining his self-imposed rule that the abbot doubted 
for some while how to treat him. At last when all the 
brethren were at work one bright spring day, he remained 
behind, and going to the monk's side, said, "Come, my 
brother, and let me carry you on my back into the little 
garden ; you have long been shut in here in this dull cell, 
unable to set foot on the ground, and glad your eyes with 
the fresh green grass." So he set him on his back, and 
carried him into the garden, and spread some sheepskins on 
the herb, and lay the emaciated brother on it, and then lay 
down beside him as though he were also suffering from 
exhaustion and rheumatism. After a while he began to rub 
his arms and legs, and say, " Good God ! how comforted I 
am by this. 1 Brother, come, let me rub your back and legs 
and arms also, it makes them feel so much better." And 
when he had done this for a while, the brother, who lay half 
torpid, began to stretch himself a bit, and spread out his 
legs in the sun. 

1 Deus bone, qualitcr comfortatui, qualiter Rum reparatus ad horam. 

% _ *ii 

* % 

374 Lives of the Saints. [March . 

Seeing this, the abbot ran to the kitchen, and got some 
bits of broken bread, and then went into the cellar and 
sopped them in the best wine, and after that poured a little 
oil upon them, and came back into the garden, holding out 
what he had got, exclaiming, " Look 1 sweetest brother, 
away with your self-imposed severity, and doubt not it has 
been too hard for you, follow my example, and obey my 
advice," and then he gave him half of what he had prepared, 
eating the rest himself, to encourage the monk. So having 
rubbed him a little more, and sung a hymn, and said a 
prayer, he took him up on his back once more, and carried 
him back to his cell again. Next day he did precisely the 
same, and so on till the monk was able to totter into the 
garden, leaning upon him, and then he amused him and 
occupied him by making him pick berries. And thus, by 
degrees, he restored to his vigour a man who was thought 
to be on the brink of the grave. He lived many years 

There were two monks who, tired of the discipline, or 
offended at being set to work that displeased them, resolved 
to go away. They met in the oratory at night, going 
thither under pretence of keeping vigil, and one said to 
the other, " You take spade and axe, and I will carry off the 
coverlets, and so we shall do well where we are going." 
Now in a dark corner was the abbot praying, and he heard 
them, and he cried out, " How, my children, is this ! Will 
ye, going away, and disturb our peace?" Then the two 
monks fell down dismayed at his feet, but he extending his 
hands, put one under each of their chins, and stooping gently, 
kissed them, said no one word of reproach, but betook 
himself to the arms of prayer to God. Then the two monks 
stole back, penitent and humbled, to their beds, and one 
remained at Condate till he died, twenty years after; but 
the second after a while ran away, but returned again to 

* i 

* . * 

March '-] S. Lupicinus. 375 

Lupicinus, sorrowful for what he had done, and resolved to 
continue with him through the rest of his life. 

When Lupicinus was old, he sought king Chilperic who 
governed Burgundy, and who was then in Geneva. 1 

He went to him to plead the cause of some poor natives 
of the Sequanaise, who had been reduced into slavery by a 
subordinate potentate. This petty tyrant was one of 
those degenerate Romans, courtiers and oppressors, who, 
by flattering the new-born authority of the barbarian 
kings, found means of trampling on and spoiling their 
inferiors. He was perhaps one of those senators of Gaul 
whom the Burgundians had admitted in 456 to a share of 
the conquered soil, and Lupicinus, although of Gallo-Roman 
origin, seems to have been less favourably disposed towards 
the Roman government than that of the Barbarians. Gregory 
of Tours has recorded a tradition which well depicts the 
impression made on the popular imagination by this ap- 
parition of the monks confronted with the triumphant 
Barbarians. He relates that when Lupicinus crossed the 
threshold of the palace of Chilperic, the throne upon which 
the king was seated trembled, as if there had been an earth- 
quake. Reassured at the sight of the old man clothed in 
skins, the Burgundian prince listened to the curious debate 
which arose between the oppressor and the advocate of 
the oppressed. "It is then thou," said the courtier to 
the abbot, " it is thou, old impostor, who hast already 
insulted the Roman power for ten years, by announcing that 
all this region, and its chiefs, were hastening to their ruin." 

1 The Burgundian king Gondccar had a brother and a son, both named Chilperic, 
who reigned at Geneva. The son reigned only one year after his father; he was 
killed by Gondebald in V7- S. Romanus died in 460. It is probable that 
his elder brother died before him, and that Lupicinus visited the elder Chil- 
peric. I have therefore supposed that he died about 430. The Bollandists 
supposing that it was the younger Chilperic he visited, have fixed his death 
at 480. 

* -* 

% . * 

376 Lives of the Saints. [March i. 

" Yes, truly," answered the monk, pointing to the king, who 
listened, " Yes, perverse traitor, the ruin which I predicted 
to thee and to thy fellows, there it is. Seest thou not, de- 
generate man, that thy rights are destroyed by thy sins, and 
that the prayers of the innocent are granted ? Seest thou 
not that the fasces and the Roman purple are compelled to 
bow before a foreign judge? Take heed that some un- 
expected guest does not come before a new tribunal to claim 
thy lands and thy domains." The king of the Burgundians 
not only justified the abbot by restoring his clients to liberty, 
but overwhelmed him with presents, and offered him fields, 
and vineyards for his abbey. Lupicinus would only accept 
a portion of the produce of these fields and vineyards, fear- 
ing that the sentiment of too vast a property might make 
his monks proud. Then the king decreed that they should 
be allowed every year three hundred measures of corn, 
three hundred measures of wine, and a hundred gold pieces 
for vestments ; and the treasury of the Merovingian kings 
continued to pay these dues long after the fall of the king 
dom of the Burgundians. 

The old abbot was true to his profession of self-mortifica- 
tion to the last. As he lay a dying he asked for a drink of 
water. One of the brethren sweetened it, by pouring in a 
spoonful of honey. But the dying man, when he tasted the 
sweetness, turned his head away, and refused to drink. 


(ABOUT A.D. 540.) 
[Irish Martyrologies. Authority : A fragment of the Life by Augustine 
MacCrodin, published by Colgan, written about 1390. The following ac- 
count of the home of S. Enda, and sketch of his life, is taken from the 
Bishop of Ardagh's charming "Visit to Aran-more," Brown and Nolan, 
Dublin, 1870.] 

S. Enda, whose name in Irish is written Einne and 
*- . , * 

March 2i.] ,S. Enda of Aran- More, $77 

Ende, and in Latin, Endeus and Anna, was born in Louth 
about the middle of the fifth century, and was the only son 
of Conall, king of Oriel, whose territories included the 
modern counties of Louth, Monaghan, Armagh, and Fer- 
managh. Three of his sisters, Fanchea, Lochinia, and 
Carecha, were nuns, and Darenia, the fourth sister, was wife 
of Engus, king of Cashel, whose death is placed by the 
Four Masters in the year 489. On the death of his father, 
the youthful Enda was chosen to succeed him as head of 
the men of Oriel. The warlike spirit of the times took 
strong hold of the young prince's heart, and we find him at 
an early period of his life captivated by the love of glory, 
and eager to show by his military prowess that he was 
worthy of the royal race from which he had sprung, and of 
the throne which he filled. His holy sister, Fanchea, was 
incessant in her exertions to win for God her brother's 
heart, which, with all its defects, she knew to be chivalrous 
and pure. For a time her words of warning and entreaty 
remained without result; but the season of grace came 
soon. Enda had asked from his sister in marriage one of 
the royal maidens who were receiving their education in 
the convent which she ruled. Fanchea communicated his 
request to the maiden : " Make thou thy choice, whether 
wilt thou love Him whom I love, or this earthly bride- 
groom ?" " Whom thou lovest," was the girl's sweet reply, 
" Him also will I love." She died soon after, and gave her 
soul to God, the Spouse whom she had chosen. 

" The holy virgin," says the ancient life, " covered the 
face of the dead girl with a veil, and going again to Enda, 
said to him : " Young man, come and see the maiden whom 
thou lovest" Then Enda with the virgin entered the cham- 
ber where was the dead girl, and the holy virgin uncovering 
the face of the lifeless maiden, said to him : " Now look 
upon the face of her whom thou didst love." And Enda 

* # 

378 Lives of the Saints. [March ai. 

cried out : " Alas ! she is fair no longer, but ghastly white." 
"So also shalt thy face be," replied the holy virgin. And 
then S. Fanchea discoursed to him of the pains of hell, and 
of the joys of heaven, until the young man's tears began to 
flow. O ! the wondrous mercy of God in the conversion of 
this man to the true faith ! for even as He changed the 
haughty Saul into the humble Paul, so out of this worldly 
prince did he make a spiritual and a holy teacher and pastor 
of His people. For having heard the words of the holy 
virgin, despising the vanities of the world, he took the 
monk's habit and tonsure, and what the tonsure signified, he 
fulfilled by his actions. 

After having founded a monastery in his native place, S. 
Enda is said to have proceeded to Rosnat or Abba, in 
Britain, where he remained for some time under the spiritual 
direction of S. Mansenus or Manchan. Thence, according 
to the above-mentioned life, he went to Rome, where "at- 
tentively studying the examples of the saints, and preparing 
himself in everything for the order of priesthood, having at 
length been ordained priest, he was pleasing to the most 
high God." He built a monastery called Laetinum or the 
Place of Joy ; and rightly so called, adds the life, " because 
therein the command of loving God and our neighbour was 
most faithfully carried out" 

Returning to Ireland, he landed at Drogheda, and built 
several churches on either side of the river Boyne. He 
then proceeded southwards to visit his brother-in-law, Engus, 
king of Munster, from whom he asked the island of Aran, 
that he might dwell thereon. The king was first unwilling 
to comply with his request ; not because he was ungenerous, 
but because he had learned from S. Patrick " not to offer to 
the Lord his God any lands save such as were good and 
fertile, and easy of access." But S. Enda declared that 
Aran was to be the place of his resurrection ; and at length 

* * 

K , 

March j S. Enda of Aran- More. 379 

the king made an offering of the island " to God and to S. 
Enda," asking in return the blessing of the saint 

Having thus obtained possession of what he rightly 
deemed a place of singular retirement, and well suited for 
the rigours of a penitential life, S. Enda returned to his 
brethren, and conducted them in safety to the island, which 
was then inhabited by Pagans from the adjacent coast of 
Clare. He divided the island into ten parts, and built 
thereon ten monasteries, each under the rule of its proper 
superior. He chose a place for his own residence on the 
eastern coast, and there erected a monastery, the name and 
site of which is preserved to this day in the little village of 
Kil-eany (Kill-Enda), about a mile from Kilronan. One 
half of the island was assigned to this monastery. 

Then began the blessed days, when the sweet odour of 
penance ascended to heaven from the angelic band of monks, 
who, under the severe rule of S. Enda, made Aran a burning 
light of sanctity for centuries in Western Europe. " The 
virginal saint from Aran Island," as Marianus O'Gorman 
styles S. Enda, was to them a model of all the virtues of 
the religious life, but, above all, he excelled in the exercise 
of penitential mortifications. S. Cuimin of Connor tells us 

Enda loved glorious mortification 
In Aran triumphant virtue 1 
A narrow dungeon of flinty stone, 
To bring the people to heaven. 

" Aran," says Froude, 1 " is no better than a wild rock. It 
is strewed over with the ruins, which may still be seen, of 
the old hermitages ; and at their best they could have been 
but such places as sheep would huddle under in a storm, 
and shiver in the cold and wet which would pierce through 
the chinks of the walls. . . . Yes ; there on that wet 

1 Short Studies, vol. a, page ai6. 



380 Lives of the Saints. [March ai. 

soil, with that dripping roof above them, was the chosen 
home of these poor men. Through winter frost, through 
rain and storm, through summer sunshine, generation after 
generation of them, there they lived and prayed, and at last 
lay down and died." 

These miracles of penance were the first and immediate 
results of S. Enda's work in Aran. 

It was in his life that these holy men had daily before 
them the personal realization of all they were striving after ; 
he taught them to cherish the flinty dungeon and the drip- 
ping cave for love of the hard manger and the harder cross ; 
he bade them dwell amid the discomforts and dreariness of 
their island home, because in the tabernacles of sinners the 
blessed majesty of God was daily outraged by the crimes 
of men. We cannot, indeed, describe the details of his 
life, for they have been hidden from human view, as it is 
becoming that such secrets of the Heavenly King should 
be hidden. But there yet survives the voice of one of 
those who lived with him in Aran, and in the ideal of an 
abbot which S. Carthage sets before us, we undoubtedly 
find re-produced the traits which distinguished the abbot of 
Aranmore, from whom S. Carthage first learned to serve 
God in the religious life. S. Enda was his first model of 
the "patience, humility, prayer, fast, and cheerful abstinence; 
of the steadiness, modesty, calmness that are due from a 
leader of religious men, whose office it is to teach in all 
truth, unity, forgiveness, purity, rectitude in all that is 
moral ; whose chief works are the constant preaching of the 
Gospel for the instruction of all persons, and the sacrifice of 
the Body of the great Lord upon the holy altar." 1 

The fame of S. Enda's austere holiness, and of the 
angelical life which so many were leading in Aran under his 
guidance, soon spread far and wide throughout the land. 

1 " Rule of S. Carthage," Irish Ectleiiaitical Record, vol. ., p. 117. 




March ai.] S. Enda of Aran- More. 381 

Soon, the Galway fishermen, whom S. Enda had blessed, 
found day after day their corachs crowded with strangers 
religious men, of meek eye and gentle face seeking to 
cross over to the island. And thus Aran gradually came to 
be, as the writer of the life of S. Kieran of Clonmacnoise 
describes it, the home of a multitude of holy men, and the 
sanctuary where repose the relics of countless saints, whose 
names are known only to the Almighty God. " Great in- 
deed is that island," exclaims another ancient writer, " and 
it is the land of the saints, for no one, save God alone, 
knows how many holy men lie buried therein." 1 

But, although it is not possible to learn the names of all 
the saints who were formed to holiness by S. Enda in Aran, 
the ancient records have preserved the names of a few at 
least out of that blessed multitude. The history of these 
men is the history of S. Enda's work on Aran. First 
among S. Enda's disciples must be ranked S. Kieran, the 
founder of Clonmacnoise, who came to Aran in his youth, 
and for seven years lived faithfully in the service of God, 
under the direction of S. Enda. "During these seven 
years," says the ancient life of our saint, " Kieran so dili- 
gently discharged the duties of grinding the corn, that grain 
in quantity sufficient to make a heap never was found in 
the granary of the island." Upon these humble labours the 
light of the future greatness of the founder of Clonmacnoise 
was allowed to shine in visions calling him elsewhere, 
But he could not bring himself to sever the happy ties that 
bound him to his abbot. He still longed to be under his 
guidance, and when recommending himself to the prayers 
of his brethren, he said to S. Enda, in the presence of all, 
" O father, take me and my charge under thy protection, 
that all my disciples may be thine likewise." " Not so," 

1 " Magna est Ilia Insula, et est terra sanctnmm ; quia nemo Belt numerum 
sanctorum qui sepulti sunt Ibi, nisi solus Dens." Vita S. Albei. Colgan, Acta SS. 

* -, 

* __ 

382 Lives of the Saints. [March ,. 

answered Enda, " for it is not the will of God that you 
should all live under my care in this scanty island." And 
when they had thus spoken, a cross was set up in the 
place, in sign of the brotherhood they had contracted 
between themselves, and those who were to come after 
them ; and they said : " whosoever in after times shall 
break the loving bond of this our brotherhood, shall not 
have share in our love on earth, nor in our company in 

The love which S. Enda bore towards his holy pupil, for 
his many and wonderful virtues, made their parting singu- 
larly painful to them both. For a time the holy abbot felt 
as if the angels of God were leaving Aran with Kieran, 
and he could find no relief for his anguish but in prayer. 
The sternness of religious discipline had not crushed but 
chastened the tenderness of an affectionate disposition in 
S. Enda. The entire community of the island shared the 
sorrow that had come on their venerable abbot. When 
the moment of departure was at hand, and the boat that was 
to bear him from Aran was spreading its sails to the breeze, 
Kieran came slowly down to the shore, walking between 
S. Enda and S. Finnian, and followed by the entire brother- 
hood. His tears flowed fast as he moved along, and those 
who accompanied him mingled their tears with his. Peter 
de Blois, when leaving the abbey of Croyland to return to his 
own country, stayed his steps seven times to look back and 
contemplate once again the place where he had been so 
happy; so, too, did Kieran's gaze linger with tenderness upon 
the dark hills of Aran and on the oratories where he had 
learned to love God, and to feel how good and joyous a thing 
it is to dwell with brethren whose hearts are at one with each 
other in God. And when the shore was reached, again he 
knelt to ask his father's blessing, and, entering the boat, was 
carried away from the Aran that he was never to see again. 

* * 

* * 

March 3i.] .S*. Enda of Aran- More. 383 

The monastic group stayed for a while on the rocks to follow 
with longing eyes the bark that was bearing from them him 
they loved ; and when at length, bending their steps home- 
wards, they had gone some distance from the shore, S. 
Enda's tears once more began to flow. " O my brethren," 
cried he, " good reason have I to weep, for this day has 
our island lost the flower and strength of religious obser- 
vance." What was loss to Aran, however, was gain to 
Clonmacnoise, and through Clonmacnoise to the entire 
Irish Church. 

Next among the saints of Aran comes S. Brendan. 
S. Finnian of Moville (March 18th) is also mentioned in 
the ancient life of our saint as one of S. Enda's disciples 
at Aran. The Irish life of S. Columbkille makes mention 
of the sojourn of that great saint on Aran. The deep 
love of S. Columba for Aran, the sorrow with which he 
quitted its shores for Iona, are expressed in a poem, written 
by him on his departure. 

Aran, ihe Rome of the pilgrims. 
Aran thou sun O 1 Aran thou sun ! 

My affection lies with thee westward ; 
Alike to be under her pure earth interred, 

As under the earth of Peter and Paul. 

The ancient life of S. Enda also reckons among the inha- 
bitants of Aran S. Finnian the elder, the founder of the great 
school of Clonard ; S. Jarlath, the founder of the see of 
Tuam ; S. Mac Creiche, of the race of the men of Cor- 
comroe, who were in possession of Aran when S. Enda first 
went thither. The Martyrology of Donegal makes mention 
of S. Guigneus ; the Martyrology of Aengus adds S. Papeus, 
S. Kevin of Glendaloch, S. Carthage of Lismore, S. Lonan 
Kerr, S. Nechanus, and S. Libeus, brother of S. Enda. 
In the midst of this holy brotherhood S. Enda died in 540 
or 542. 

384 Lives of the Saints. [March n . 

The sight of Aran peopled by this host of saints forcibly 
recalls to mind that other island, where, in an age of wild 
and fierce passions, the arts of peace, religious learning, and 
the highest Christian virtues, found a sanctuary. At the be- 
ginning of the sixth century, Aran may, with truth, be styled 
the Lerins of the Northern seas. True, its bare flags and 
cold grey landscape contrast sadly with "the gushing 
streams, the green meadows, the luxuriant wealth of vines, 
the fair valleys, and the fragrant scents which," according 
to S. Eucherius, " made Lerins the paradise of those who 
dwelt thereon." 1 However, its very wildness did but 
make it richer in those attractions so well described by S. 
Ambrose, which made the outlying islands so dear to the 
religious men of that time. 2 They loved those islands, 
"which, as a necklace of perils, God has set upon the 
bosom of the sea, and in which those who would fly from 
the irregular pleasures of the world, may find a refuge 
wherein to practise austerity and save themselves from the 
snares of this life. In it these faithful and pious men find 
incentives to devotion. The mysterious sound of the 
billows calls for the answering sound of sacred psalmody ; 
and the peaceful voices of holy men, mingled with the 
gentle murmur of the waves breaking softly on the shore 
rise in unison to the heavens." 

On a summer's day in the year 1870, says the Bishop 
of Ardagh, we set sail to visit the remote Aran, which the 
virtues of S. Enda had changed from a Pagan isle into Aran 
of the Saints. And as the faint breeze bore us slowly 
over the waters that lay almost motionless in the summer 
calm, we gazed with admiration upon a scene which 
was but little changed since S. Enda and his pilgrim band 
had first looked upon it. Before us there lay stretched 
out the same expanse of sea, fringed on one side by 

1 S. Eucherius De laude EremI, 44a. * Hexatmeron, lib. 3, c. j. 



March 21.] S. Enda of Aran- More. 385 

the dark plains of Iar-Connaught, along which the eye 
travelled from the white cliffs of Barna to where the 
Connemara mountains, in soft blue masses, stood out in 
fantastic clusters against the sky. On the other side ran 
the Clare coastline, now retreating before the deep sea- 
inlets, and now breasting the Atlantic with bold promon- 
tories like that of gloomy Black-Head, or with gigantic 
cliffs like those of Mohir. And as the day closed, and we 
watched the evening breeze steal out from land, crisping 
the water into wavelets that rippled against the vessel's 
side; and as we saw the golden glory of the sunset 
flush with indescribable loveliness, earth, and sea, and sky, 
we thought how often in bygone days, the view of Aran 
rising, as we then saw it, out of the sunlit waves, had 
brought joy to the pilgrim who was journeying to find rest 
upon its rocky shore. 

The Aran isles are three in number, named respectively, 
Inishmore (the large island), Inishmain (the middle island), 
and Inisheen (the eastern island). The eastern island is the 
smallest of the three, and is about two-and-a-half miles long; 
the middle island is three miles long ; the largest is about 
nine miles in length, and twenty-four in circumference. 

Our chief interest was naturally centred in the group of 
buildings which exist at Killeany, and consist of the church 
of S. Benignus, the church of S. Enda, the round tower of 
S. Enda, and the stone houses in its immediate vicinity. 
Our readers will have remarked that the first six churches 
named in Dr. Keely's list, all stood near each other, and to 
the north of the present village of Killeany. Out of six 
churches which existed here as late as 1645, f ur have 
almost entirely disappeared. They were demolished by 
unholy hands for the sake of materials to build the castle 
of Arkin. 

The church known as Teglach Enda, wherein S. Enda 

vol. in. 25 


386 Lives of the Saints. [March t. 

was laid, still exists on the shore ; it is in good preservation, 
and is a fine specimen of the single church without chancel. 
It is twenty-four feet in length and fourteen in breadth. 
All the walls now standing are by no means of an equal 
antiquity. The eastern gable and part of the northern side 
wall are the only parts belonging to S. Enda's time, the 
remainder of the building being the work of a later period. 
Around the church spreads the cemetery, now almost 
completely covered up by the sands, in which the body of 
S. Enda, and those of one hundred and fifty other saints, 
are interred. 

On the hill side, are S. Enda's well, and altar ; the latter 
surmounted by a rude cross. S. Enda's well, and indeed 
all the other wells we saw in the island, are carefully pro- 
tected by the Araners ; the scarcity of water rendering the 
possession of a well almost as precious to them as it 
was to the Eastern shepherds in the days of Rebecca. 
At a short distance to the left of the well, stands the 
remnant of the round tower of S. Enda. Once its height 
was worthy of the cluster of sacred temples which stood 
within the circle traversed by the shadow it projected in 
the changing hours ; but now it is little more than thirteen 
feet high. An aged man who joined our group, told 
us that in S. Enda's time the mass was not commenced in 
any of the churches of the island, until the bell from 
S. Enda's tower announced that S. Enda himself had taken 
his place at the altar in his own church. 

With the permission of the excellent priest who has 
charge of the island, we resolved, on the last morning 
of our stay on Aran, to celebrate mass in the ruined church 
of Teglach-Enda, where in the year 540 or 542, S. Enda 
was interred. The morning was bright and clear, and the 
rigid outlines of the rocks were softened by the touch of the 
early sunshine. The inhabitants of Killeany, exulting in the 


March ax.] /T. Enda of Aran- More. 387 

tidings that the Holy Sacrifice was once again to be offered 
to God near the shrine of their sainted patron, accompanied 
or followed us to the venerable ruins. The men, young and 
old, were clothed in decent black, or in white garments of 
home-made stuff, with sandals of undressed leather, like 
those of the peasants of the Abruzzi, laced round their feet ; 
the women were attired in gay scarlet gowns and blue 
bodices, and all wore a look of remarkable neatness and 
comfort. The small roofless church was soon filled to over- 
flowing with a decorous and devout congregation. 

We can never forget the scene of that morning : the 
pure bright sand, covering the graves of unknown and 
unnumbered saints as with a robe of silver tissue ; the 
delicate green foliage of the wild plants ; on one side, the 
swelling hill crowned with the church of S. Benignus, and on 
the other the blue sea, that almost bathed the foundations 
of the venerable sanctuary itself; the soft balmy air that 
hardly stirred the ferns on the old walls ; and the fresh, 
happy, solemn calm that reigned over all. 

The temporary altar was set up under the east window, 
on the site where of old the altar stood ; and there, in the 
midst of the loving and simple faithful, within the walls 
which had been consecrated some twelve hundred years 
before, over the very spot ot earth where so many of the 
saints of Ireland lay awaiting their resurrection to glory, the 
solemn rite of the Christian Sacrifice was performed, and 
once more, as in the days cf which S. Columba wrote, the 
angels of God came down to worship the Divine Victim in 
the Churches of Aran. 

% g 

388 Lives of the Saints. [March n. 


(a-d. 543.) 

[Roman Martyrology, Benedictine, that of Bede. Greek Menologium 
on March 14th. Authorities : Life written by S. Gregory the Great, in 
the second book of his dialogues ; S. Gregory received his information 
from the lips of four disciples of the holy patriarch, Cbnstantine, Honor- 
atus, Valentinian, and Simplicius, the two first of whom had succeeded 
him as abbots respectively of Monte Cassino and Subiaco. Also the 
Chronicon Casinense, the first three books containing the life of S. Bene- 
dict by Leo Marsicanus, B. of Ostia, a monk of Monte Casino ; the fourth 
book was added by Paulus Diacomus. The following life has been con- 
densed from that by M. de Montalembert in his "Monks of the West."] 

S. Benedict was born in the year of our Lord 480. 
Europe has, perhaps, never known a more calamitous or 
apparently desperate period than that which reached its 
climax at this date. Confusion, corruption, despair, and 
death were everywhere; social dismemberment seemed 
complete. Authority, morals, laws, sciences, arts, religion 
herself, might have been supposed condemned to irremedi- 
able ruin. The germs of a splendid and approaching 
revival were still hidden from all eyes under the ruins of a 
crumbling world. The Church was more than ever infected 
by heresy, schisms, and divisions, which the obscure suc- 
cessors of S. Leo the Great in the Holy See endeavoured in 
vain to repress. In all the ancient Roman world there did 
not exist a prince who was not either a pagan, an Arian, or 
an Eutychian. The monastic institution, after having given 
so many doctors and saints to the Church in the East, was 
drifting toward that descent which it never was doomed to 
reascend ; and even in the West, some symptoms of prema- 
ture decay had already appeared. 

Germany was still entirely pagan, as was also Great Britain, 
where the new-born faith had been stifled by the Angles and 
Saxons. Gaul was invaded on the north by the pagan 


S. BENEDICT. After Cahier. 

March, p. 388.] 

[March 31. 

March 2i.] .S. Benedict. 389 

Franks, and on the south by the Arian Burgundians. Spain 
was overrun and ravaged by the Visigoths, the Sueves, the 
Alans, and the Vandals, all Arians. The same Vandals, 
under the successor of Genseric, made Christian Africa 
desolate, by a persecution more unpitying and refined in 
cruelty than those of the Roman emperors. In a word, all 
those countries into which the first disciples of Jesus Christ 
carried the faith, had fallen a prey to barbarianism. The 
world had to be re-conquered. 

Amidst this universal darkness and desolation, history 
directs our gaze towards those heights in the centre of Italy, 
and at the gates of Rome, which detach themselves from 
the chain of the Apennines, and extend from the ancient 
country of the Sabines to that of the Samnites. A single 
solitary was about to form there a centre of spiritual virtue, 
and to light it up with a splendour destined to shine over 
regenerated Europe for ten centuries to come. 

Fifty miles to the west of Rome, among that group of 
hills where the Anio hollows a deep gorge, the traveller, 
ascending by the course of the river, reaches a basin, which 
opens out between two immense walls of rock, and from 
which a limpid stream pours from fall to fall, to a place 
called Subiaco. This grand and picturesque site had at- 
tracted the attention of Nero. He confined the waters of 
the Anio by dams, and constructed artificial lakes below, 
before a delicious villa, which, from its position, assumed 
the name of Sublaqueum, and of which some shapeless 
ruins remain. Four centuries after Nero, when solitude 
and silence had long replaced the imperial orgies, a young 
patrician flying from the delights and dangers of Rome, 
sought there a refuge with God. He ha*d been baptized 
under the name of Benedictus, or the Blessed. He belonged 
to the illustrious Anician family ; by his mother's side he 
was the last scion of the lords of Nursia, where he was 

4* * 

tf< - ' 

390 Lives of the Saints. [March . 

born, as has been said, in 480. He was scarce fourteen 
when he resolved to renounce fortune, his family, and the 
happiness of this world. Leaving his old nurse, who had 
been the first to love him, and who alone followed him still, 
he plunged, in 494, into these wild gorges, and ascended 
those savage hills. On the way he met a monk, named 
Romanus, who gave him a hair shirt and a monastic habit 
made of skin. 1 Proceeding on his ascent, and reaching 
the middle of the abrupt rock, which faces the south, and 
which overhangs the Anio, he discovered a dark cave, a sort 
of den, unillumined by the sun. He there took up his 
abode, and remained unknown to all, except the monk 
Romanus, who fed him with the remainder of his own 
scanty fare, but who, not being able to reach his cell, trans- 
mitted to him every day, at the end of a cord, a loaf and a 
little bell, the sound of which warned him of this sustenance 
which charity had provided for him. 

He lived three entire years in this tomb. The shepherds 
who discovered him there at first took him for a wild beast, 
but by his discourses, and the efforts he made to instil grace 
and piety into their rustic souls, they recognised in him a 
servant of God. Temptations were not wanting to him. 
The allurements of voluptuousness acted so strongly on his 
excited senses, that he was on the point of leaving his re- 
treat to seek after a woman whose beauty had formerly im- 
pressed him, and whose memory haunted him incessantly. 
But there was near his grotto a clump of thorns and briers : 
he took off the vestments of skins, which was his only dress, 
and rolled himself among them naked till his body was all 
one wound, but also till he had extinguished for ever the 
infernal fire which inflamed him even in the desert. 

Seven centuries later, another saint, father of the most 
numerous monastic family which the church has produced 

1 The locality of the meeting is indicated by a chapel called S. Crocella. 
* -* 

March si.] ,S. Benedict. 391 

after that of S. Benedict, S. Francis of Assisi, came to visit 
that wild site, which was worthy to rival the bare Tuscan 
rock, where the stigmata of the passion were imprinted on 
himself. He prostrated himself before the thicket of thorns 
which had been a triumphal bed to the masculine virtue of 
the patriarch of the monks, and after having bathed with his 
tears the soil of that glorious battle-field, he planted there 
two rose trees. The roses of S. Francis grew, and have 
survived the Benedictine briers. This garden, twice sancti- 
fied, still occupies a sort of triangular plateau, which pro- 
jects upon the side of the rock, a little before and beneath 
the grotto which sheltered S. Benedict The eye, confined 
on all sides by rocks, can survey freely only the azure of 
heaven. It is the last of those sacred places visited and 
venerated in the celebrated and unique monastery of the 
Iagro Speco, which forms a series of sanctuaries, built one 
over the other, backed by the mountain which Benedict has 
immortalized. Such was the hard and savage cradle of -the 
monastic order in the West. It was from this tomb, where 
the delicate son of the last patricians of Rome buried him- 
self alive, that the definite form of monastic life that is to 
say, the perfection of Christian life was born. 

The solitude of the young anchorite was not long re- 
spected. The faithful in the neighbourhood, who brought 
him food for the body, asked the bread of life in return. 
The monks of a neighbouring monastery, situated near Vico 
Varo, obtained, by dint of importunity, his consent to be- 
come their ruler, but, soon disgusted by his austerity, they 
endeavoured to poison him. He made the sign of the 
cross over the vessel which contained the poison, and it 
broke as if it had been struck with a stone. He left these 
unworthy monks, to re-enter joyfully his beloved cavern, 
and to live by himself alone. But it was in vain : he soon 
found himself surrounded by such a multitude of disciples, 

>j, > 

392 Lives of the Saints. (March . 

that, to give them a shelter, he was compelled to found in 
the neighbourhood of his retreat twelve monasteries, each 
inhabited by twelve monks. He kept some with him, in 
order to direct them himself, and was thus finally raised to 
be the superior of a numerous community of cenobites. 

Clergy and laymen, Romans and barbarians, victors and 
vanquished, alike flocked to him, attracted by the fame of 
his virtue and miracles. While the celebrated Theodoric, 
at the head of his Goths, up to that time invincible, de- 
stroyed the ephemeral kingdom of the Hercules, seized 
Rome, and overspread Italy, other Goths came to seek 
faith, penitence, and monastic discipline under the laws of 
Benedict. At his command they armed themselves with 
axes and hatchets, and employed their robust strength in 
rooting out the brushwood and clearing the soil, which, 
since the time of Nero, had again become a wilderness. 
The Italian painters of the great ages of art have left us 
many representations of the legend told by S. Gregory, in 
which S. Benedict restores to a Goth who had become a 
convert at Subiaco, the tool which that zealous but un- 
skilled workman had dropped to the bottom of the lake, 
and which the abbot miraculously brought forth. " Take 
thy tool," said Benedict to the barbarian woodcutter, 
" take it, work, and be comforted." Symbolical words, in 
which we find an abridgment of the precepts and examples 
lavished by the monastic order on so many generations of 
conquering races : Ecce labor a. 

Beside these barbarians already occupied in restoring the 
cultivation of that Italian soil which their brethren in arms 
still wasted, were many children of the Roman nobility, 
whom their fathers had confided to Benedict to be trained 
to the service of God. Among these young patricians are 
two whose names are celebrated in Benedictine annals : 
Maur, whom the abbot Benedict made his own coadjutor ; 

*b~ * 


From a Fresco, by Spinelli d'Arezzo, in the Church of San Miniato, near Florence. 

March, p. 392.] 

[March 21. 

March ai.] 6*. Benedict. 393 

and Placidus, whose father was lord of the manor of Subiaco, 
which did not prevent his son from rendering menial ser- 
vices to the community, such as drawing water from the 
lake of Nero. The weight of his pitcher one day over- 
balanced him, and he fell into the lake. We shall leave 
Bossuet to tell the rest, in his panegyric, delivered twelve 
centuries afterwards before the sons of the founder of 
Subiaco : 

" S. Benedict ordered S. Maur, his faithful disciple, to 
run quickly and draw the child out. At the word of his 
master, Maur went away without hesitation, . . . and 
full of confidence in the order he had received, walked upon 
the water with as much security as upon the earth, and drew 
Placidus from the whirlpool, which would have swallowed 
him up. To what shall I attribute so great a miracle, whe- 
ther to the virtue of the obedience or to that of the com- 
mandment ? A doubtful question, says S. Gregory, between 
S. Benedict and S. Maur. But let us say, to decide it, that 
the obedience had grace to accomplish the command, and 
that the command had grace to give efficacy to the obedi- 
ence. Walk, my fathers, upon the waves with the help of 
obedience ; you shall find solid support amid the incon- 
stancy of human things. The waves shall have no power 
to overthrow you, nor the depths to swallow you up ; you 
shall remain immovable, as if all was firm under your feet, 
and issue forth victorious." 

However, Benedict had the ordinary fate of great men 
and saints. The great number of conversions worked by 
th# example and fame of his austerity, awakened a 
homicidal envy against him. A wicked priest of the 
neighbourhood attempted first to decry and then poison 
him. Iking unsuccessful in both, he endeavoured at least 
to injure him in the object of his most tender solicitude 
in the souls of his young disciples. For that purpose he 

* * 

394 Lives of the Saints. [March n. 

sent, even into the garden of the monaster)', where Benedict 
dwelt, and where the monks laboured, seven wretched 
women, whose gestures, sports, and shameful nudity, were 
designed to tempt the young monks to certain fall. When 
Benedict, from the threshold of his cell, perceived these 
shameless creatures, he despaired of his work ; he acknow- 
ledged that the interest of his beloved children constrained 
him to disarm so cruel an enmity by retreat. He appointed 
superiors to the twelve monasteries which he had founded, 
and, taking with him a small number of disciples, he left for 
ever the wild gorges of Subiaco, where he had lived for 
thirty-five years. 

Without withdrawing from the mountainous region which 
extends along the western side of the Apennines, Benedict 
directed his steps toward the south, along the Abruzzi, and 
penetrated into that land of labour, the name of which 
seems naturally suited to a soil destined to be the cradle of 
the most laborious men whom the world has known. He 
ended his journey in a scene very different from that of 
Subiaco, but of incomparable grandeur and majesty. There 
upon the boundaries of Sammim and Campania, in the 
centre of a large'basin, half-surrounded by abrupt and pic- 
turesque heights, rises a scarped and isolated hill, the vast 
and rounded summit of which overlooks the course of the 
Liris near its fountain head, and the undulating plain which 
extends south towards the shores of the Mediterranean, and 
the narrow valleys which, towards the north, the east, and 
the west, lost themselves in the lines of the mountainous 
horizon. This is Monte Cassino. a 

It was here, amidst this solemn nature, and upon that 
predestinated height, that the patriarch of the monks of the 
west founded the capital of the monastic order. He found 
paganism still surviving there. Two hundred years after 
Constantine, in the heart of Christendom, and so near 


March 2i.] S. Benedict. 395 

Rome, there still existed a very ancient temple of Apollo, 
and a sacred wood, where a multitude of peasants sacrificed 
to the gods and demons. Benedict preached the faith of 
Christ to these forgotten people ; he persuaded them to cut 
down the wood, to overthrow the temple and the idol. 

Upon these remains Benedict built two oratories, one 
dedicated to S. John the Baptist, the first solitary of the 
new faith ; the other to S. Martin, the great monk-bishop, 
whose ascetic and priestly life had edified Gaul, and 
reached as far as Italy. 

Round these chapels rose the monastery which was to 
become the most powerful and celebrated in the Catholic 
universe ; celebrated especially because there Benedict 
wrote his rule, and at the same time formed the type which 
was to serve as a model to innumerable communities sub- 
mitted to that sovereign code. It is for this reason that 
emulous pontiffs, princes, and nations have praised, en- 
dowed, and visited the sanctuary where monastic religion, 
according to the expression of Pope Urban II., "flowed 
from the heart of Benedict as from a fountain-head of 

Benedict ended his life at Monte Cassino, where he lived 
for fourteen years, occupied, in the first place, with extir- 
pating from the surrounding country the remnants of 
paganism, afterwards in building his monastery by the 
hands of his disciples, in cultivating the arid sides of his 
mountain, and the devasted plains around, but above all, in 
extending to all who approached him the benefits of the 
law of God, practised with a fervour and charity which 
none have surpassed. Although he had never been 
invested with the priestly character, his life at Monte 
Cassino was rather that of a missionary and apostle than 
of a solitary. He was, notwithstanding, the vigilant head 
of a commnnity which flourished and increased more and 


396 Lives of the Saints. [March . 

more. Accustomed to subdue himself in everything, and 
to struggle with the infernal spirits, whose temptations and 
appearances were not wanting to him more than to the 
ancient fathers of the desert, he had acquired the gift of 
reading souls, and discerning their most secret thoughts. 
He used this faculty not only to direct the young monks, 
who always gathered in such numbers round him, in their 
studies and the labours of agriculture and building which he 
shared with them ; but even in the distant journeys on which 
they were sometimes sent, he followed them by a spiritual 
observation, discovered their least failings, reprimanded 
them on their return, and bound them in everything to a 
strict fulfilment of the rule which they had accepted. He 
exacted from all, the obedience, sincerity, and austerely 
regulated life of which he himself gave the first example. 

Many young men of rich and noble families came here, 
as at Subiaco, to put themselves under his direction, or 
were confided to him by their parents. They laboured with 
the other brethren in the cultivation of the soil and the 
building of the monastery, and were bound to all the 
services imposed by the rule. Some of the young nobles 
rebelled in secret against that equality. Among these, 
according to the narrative of S. Gregory, was the son of a 
defender that is to say, of the first magistrate of a town or 
province. One evening, it being his turn to light the Abbot 
Benedict at supper, while he held the candlestick before the 
abbotial table, his pride rose within him, and he said to 
himself, " What is this man that I should thus stand before 
him while he eats, with a candle in my hand like a slave ? 
Am I then made to be his slave ?" Immediately Benedict, 
as if he had heard him, reproved him sharply for that 
movement of pride, gave the candle to another, and sent 
him back to his cell, dismayed to find himself at once 
discovered and restrained in his most secret thoughts. It 


March ji.] .S*. Benedict. 397 

was then that the great legislator inagurated in his new- 
formed cloister that alliance of aristocratic races with the 
Benedictine Order which we shall shall have many generous 
and fruitful examples to quote. 

He bound all nobles and plebians, young and old, 
rich and poor under the same discipline. But he would 
have excess or violence in nothing, and when he was told of 
a solitary in the neighbouring mountain, who, not content 
with shutting himself up in a narrow cave, had attached to 
his foot a chain, the other end of which was fixed in a rock, 
so that he could not move beyond the length of this chain, 
Benedict sent to tell him to break it, in these words, " If 
thou art truly a servant of God, confine thyself not with a 
chain of iron, but with the chain of Christ" 

And extending his solicitude and authority over the 
surrounding populations, he did not content himself with 
preaching eloquently to them the true faith, but also healed 
the sick, the lepers and the possessed, provided for all the 
necessities of the soul and body, paid the debts of honest 
men oppressed by their creditors, and distributed in in- 
cessant alms the provisions of corn, wine, and linen which 
were sent to him by the rich Christians of the neighbourhood. 
A great famine having afflicted Campania in 539, he dis- 
tributed to the poor all the provisions of the monastery, so 
that one day there remained only five loaves to feed all the 
community. The monks were dismayed and melancholy : 
Benedict reproached them with their cowardice. " You 
have not enough to-day," he said to them, " but you shall 
have too much to-morrow." And accordingly they found 
next morning at the gates of the monastery two hundred 
bushels of flour, bestowed by some unknown hand. Thus 
were established the foundations of that traditional and un- 
bounded munificence to which his spiritual descendants 
have remained unalterably faithful, and which was the law 
and glory of his existence. 


398 Lives of the Saints. [March M . 

So much sympathy for the poor naturally inspired them 
with a blind confidence in him. One day, when he had 
gone out with the brethren to labour in the fields, a peasant, 
distracted with grief, and bearing in his arms the body of 
his dead son, came to the monastery and demanded to see 
Father Benedict. When he was told that Benedict was in 
the fields with the brethren, he threw down his son's body 
before the door, and, in the transport of his grief, ran at 
full speed to seek the saint. He met him returning from 
his work, and from the moment he perceived him, began to 
cry, " Restore me my son !" Benedict stopped and asked 
"Have I carried him away?" The peasant answered "He 
is dead ; come and raise him up." Benedict was grieved 
by these words, and said, " Go home my friend this is not a 
work for us ; this belongs to the holy apostles. Why do 
you come to impose upon us so tremendous a burden?" 
But the father persisted, and swore in his passionate distress 
that he would not go till the saint had raised up his son. 
The abbot asked him where his son was. " His body " 
said he " is at the door of the monastery." Benedict, when 
he arrived there, fell on his knees, and then laid himself 
down, as Elijah did in the house of the widow of Sarepta, 
upon the body of the child, and rising up, extended his 
hands to heaven, praying thus ; " Lord look not upon my 
sins but on the faith of this man, and restore to the body 
the soul Thou hast taken away from it." Scarcely was his 
prayer ended, when all present perceived that the whole 
body of the child trembled. Benedict took him by the 
hand, and restored him to his father full of life and health. 

His virtue, his fame, the supernatural power which was 
more and more visible in his whole life, made him the 
natural protector of the poor husbandmen against the 
violence and rapine of the new masters of Italy. The great 
Theodoric had organized an energetic and protective govern- 


March ax.] S. Beriedict. 399 

ment, but he dishonoured the end of his reign by perse- 
cution and cruelty; and since his death barbarism had 
regained all its ancient ascendancy among the Goths. The 
rural population groaned under the yoke of these rude 
oppressors, doubly exasperated, as Barbarians and as Arians 
against the Italian Catholics. To Benedict, the Roman 
patrician, who had become a serf of God, belonged the 
noble office of drawing towards each other the Italians and 
Barbarians, two races cruelly divided by religion, fortune, 
language, and manners, whose mutual hatred was embittered 
by so many catastrophes inflicted by the one, and suffered 
by the other, since the time of Alaric. The founder of 
Monte Cassino stood between the victors and the van- 
quished like an all-powerful moderator and inflexible judge. 
The facts which we are about to relate, according to the 
narrative of S. Gregory, could be told throughout all Italy, 
and, spreading from cottage to cottage, would bring un- 
thought of hope and consolation into the hearts of the 
oppressed, and establish the popularity of Benedict and his 
order on an immortal foundation in the memory of the 

It has been seen that there were already Goths among 
the monks at Subiaco, and how they were employed in 
reclaiming the soil which their fathers had laid waste. But 
there were others who, inflamed by heresy, professed a 
hatred of all that was orthodox and belonged to monastic 
life. One especially, named Galla, traversed the country 
panting with rage and cupidity, and made a sport of slaying 
the priests and monks who fell under his power, and spoiling 
and torturing the people to extort from them the little that 
they had remaining. An unfortunate peasant, exhausted 
by the torments inflicted upon him by the pitiless Goth, 
conceived the idea of bringing them to an end by declaring 
that he had confided all that he had to the keeping of 

*i> 4* 

400 Lives of the Saints. [March u . 

Benedict, a servant of God ; upon which Galla stopped the 
torture of the peasant, but, binding his arms with ropes, and 
thrusting him in front of his own horse, ordered him to go 
before and show the way to the house of this Benedict who 
had defrauded him of his expected prey. Both pursued 
thus the way to Monte Cassino ; the peasant on foot, with 
his hands tied behind his back, urged on by the blows and 
taunts of the Goth, who followed on horseback, an image 
only too faithful of the two races which unhappy Italy 
enclosed within her distracted bosom, and which were to be 
judged and reconciled by the unarmed majesty of monastic 
goodness. When they had reached the summit of the 
mountain they perceived the abbot seated alone, reading at 
the door of his monastery. "Behold," said the prisoner 
turning to his tyrant, " there is the Father Benedict of whom 
I told thee." The Goth, believing that here, or elsewhere, 
he should be able to make his way by terror, immediately 
called out with a furious tone to the monk. " Rise up, rise 
up, and restore quickly what thou hast received from this 
peasant." At these words the man of God raised his eyes 
from his book, and, without speaking, slowly turned his 
gaze first upon the Barbarian on horse-back, and then upon 
the husbandman bound, and bowed down by his cords. 
Under the light of that powerful gaze the cords which tied 
his poor arms loosed of themselves, and the innocent victim 
stood erect and free, while the ferocious Galla, falling on 
the ground, trembling, and beside himself, remained at the 
feet of Benedict, begging the saint to pray for him. With- 
out interrupting his reading, Benedict called his brethren, 
and directed them to carry the fainting Barbarian into the 
monastery, and give him some blessed bread, and, when he 
had come to himself, the abbot represented to him the 
extravagance, injustice, and cruelty of his conduct, and 
exhorted him to change it for the future. The Goth was 

* 4* 

From a Fresco, painted by Spinelli d'Arezzo, in the Church of San Miniato, near Florence. 

March, p. 400.] 

[March 21. 


March 3I .] S. Benedict. 401 

completely subdued, and no longer dared to ask anything 
of the labourer whom the mere glance of the monk had 
delivered from his bonds. 

But this mysterious attraction, which drew the Goths 
under the influence of Benedict's looks and words, produced 
another celebrated and significant scene. The two principal 
elements of reviving society in their most striking imperso- 
nation the victorious Barbarians and the invincible monks 
were here confronted. Totila, the greatest of the suc- 
cessors of Theodoric, ascended the throne in 542, and 
immediately undertook the restoration of the monarchy of 
the Ostrogoths, which the victories of Belisarius had half 
overthrown. Having defeated at Faenza, with only five 
thousand men, the numerous Byzantine army, led by the 
incapable commanders whom the jealousy of Justinian had 
substituted for Belisarius, the victorious king made a 
triumphal progress through Central Italy, and was on his 
way to Naples when he was seized with a desire to see this 
Benedict, whose fame was already as great among the 
Romans as among the Barbarians, and who was everywhere 
called a prophet. He directed his steps towards Monte 
Cassino, and caused his visit to be announced. Benedict 
answered that he would receive him. But Totila desirous 
of proving the prophetic spirit which was attributed to the 
saint, dressed the captain of his guard in the royal robes and 
purple boots, which were the distinctive marks of royalty, 
gave him a numerous escort, commanded by the three counts 
who usually guarded his own person, and charged him, thus 
clothed and accompanied, to present himself to the abbot 
as the king. The moment that Benedict perceived him, 
" My son," he cried, " put off the dress you wear ; it is not 
yours." The officer immediately threw himself upon the 
ground, appalled at the idea of having attempted to deceive 
such a man. Neither he nor any of the retinue ventured 
vol. in. 26 

* A 

402 Lives of the Saints. [March . 

so much as to approach the abbot, but returned at full speed 
to the king, to tell him how promptly they had been dis- 
covered. Then Totila himself ascended the monastic 
mountain, but when he had reached the height, and saw 
from a distance the abbot seated, waiting for him, the victor 
of the Romans, and the master of Italy was afraid. He 
dared not advance, but threw himself on his face before the 
servant of Christ. Benedict said to him three times, 
" Rise." But as he persisted in his prostration, the monk 
rose from his seat and raised him up. During the course 
of their interview, Benedict reproved him for all that was 
blamable in his life, and predicted what should happen to 
him in the future. " You have done much evil ; you do it 
still every day ; it is time that your iniquities should cease. 
You shall enter Rome ; you shall cross the sea ; you shall 
reign nine years, and the tenth you shall die." The king, 
deeply moved, commended himself to his prayers, and with- 
drew. But he carried away in his heart this salutary and 
retributive incident, and from that time his barbarian nature 
was transformed. 

Totila was as victorious as Benedict had predicted that he 
should be. He possessed himself first of Benevento and 
Naples, then of Rome, then of Sicily, which he invaded 
with a fleet of five hundred ships, and ended by conquering 
Corsica and Sardinia. But he exhibited everywhere a clem- 
ency and gentleness which, to the historian of the Goths, 
seem out of character at once with his origin and his posi- 
tion as a foreign conqueror. He treated the Neapolitans 
as his children, and the captive soldiers as his own troops, 
gaining himself immortal honour by the contrast between 
his conduct and the horrible massacre of the whole popula- 
tion, which the Greeks had perpetrated ten years before, 
when that town was taken by Belisarius. He punished with 
death one of his bravest officers, who had insulted the 

March ai.] , Benedict. 403 

daughter of an obscure Italian, and gave all his goods to 
the woman whom he had injured, and that despite the re- 
presentations of the principal nobles of his own nation, 
whom he convinced of the necessity of so severe a measure, 
that they might merit the protection of God upon their 
arms. When Rome surrendered, after a prolonged siege, 
Totila forbade the Goths to shed the blood of any Roman, 
and protected the women from insult At length, after a 
ten years' reign, he fell, according to the prediction of Bene- 
dict, in a great battle which he fought with the Greco- 
Roman army, commanded by the eunuch Narses. 

Placed as if midway between the two invasions of the 
Goths and Lombards, the dear and holy foundation of 
Benedict, respected by the one, was to yield for a time 
to the rage of the other. The holy patriarch had a pre- 
sentment that his successors would not meet a second Totila 
to listen to them and spare them. A noble whom he had 
converted, and who lived on familiar terms with him, found 
him one day weeping bitterly. He watched Benedict for a 
long time, and then, perceiving that his tears were not 
stayed, and that they proceeded not from the ordinary fer- 
vour of his prayers, but from profound melancholy, he 
asked the cause. The saint answered, "This monastery 
which I have built, and all that I have prepared for my 
brethren, has been delivered up to the pagans by a sentence 
of Almighty God. Scarcely have I been able to obtain 
mercy for their lives." Less than forty years after, this pre- 
diction was accomplished by the destruction of Monte 
Gassino by the Lombards. 

Benedict, however, was near the end of his career. His 
interview with Totila took place in 542, in the year which 
preceded his death, and from his earliest days of the fol- 
lowing year, God prepared him for his last struggle, by re- 
quiring from him the sacrifice of the most tender affection 


^ _ 

404 Lives of the Saints. [March 21 

he had retained on earth. The beautiful and touching inci- 
dent of the last meeting of Benedict with his twin sister, 
Scholastica, has been already recorded (Feb. 10th). At the 
window of his cell, three days after, Benedict had a vision 
of his dear sister's soul entering heaven in the form of a 
snowy dove. He immediately sent for the body, and placed 
it in the sepulchere which he had already prepared for him- 
self, that death might not separate those whose souls had 
always been united in God. 

The death of his sister was the signal of departure for 
himself. He survived her only forty days. He announced 
his death to several of his monks, then far from Monte 
Cassino. A violent fever having seized him, he caused 
himself on the sixth day of his sickness to be carried to the 
chapel of S. John the Baptist; he had before ordered the 
tomb in which his sister already slept to be opened. There, 
supported in the arms of his disciples, he received the holy 
Viaticum, then placing himself at the side of the open 
grave, but at the foot of the altar, and with his arms ex- 
tended towards heaven, he died, standing, muttering a last 
prayer. Died standing ! such a victorious death became 
well that great soldier of God. He was buried by the side 
of Scholastica, in a sepulchre made on the spot where 
stood the altar of Apollo, which he had thrown down. 

The body of S. Benedict was carried by S. Aigulf, monk 
of the abbey of Fleury, from Monte Cassino, which had 
been ruined by the Lombards, into France, to his own 
monastery. This translation took place on July nth, and 
is commemorated in all the monasteries of France on that 
day. Another solemnity, called the Illation, has been in- 
stituted in honour of the transfer of the same relics from 
Orleans, whither they had been conveyed, from fear of the 
Normans, back again to Fleury-sur- Loire. In 1838, the 
bishop of Orleans resolved on sending the relics to the 


March ai.] S. Benedict. 405 

Benedictine abbey of Solesmes, in the diocese of Le Mans, 
but the project met with so great opposition that he con- 
tented himself with sending only the skull to Solesmes. 

The reliquary which was opened in 1805, by Mgr. Ber- 
nier, bishop of Orleans, was found to contain, together with 
the bones, several papal bulls authenticating the relics. It 
is, however, necessary to add that the abbey of Monte 
Cassino claims to possess the body of S. Benedict, and ad- 
duces a bull of pope Urban II., declaring anathema against 
all who deny the authenticity of that body. It is possible 
that if the relics in both places were examined carefully, it 
would be found that the portions missing in one place would 
be found in the other. It is certain that S. Odilo of Cluny 
sent one of the bones of S. Benedict to Monte Cassino out 
of France, in the nth cent, and that it was received there 
with great joy, so that the monks there cannot have 
possessed the body at that date. 

In Art, S. Benedict is represented with his finger on his 
lip, as enjoining silence, and with his rule in his hand, or 
with the first words of that rule, " Ausculta, O fili !" issuing 
from his lips, and with a discipline, i.e. a scourge, or a 
rose bush at his side, or holding a broken goblet in his 


406 Lives of the Saints. [March 22 

March 22. 

S. Paul, B. of Narbonne, yd or e,th cent. 

S. Aphrodisius, B. of Beziers, yd or $th cent. 

SS. Callinica and Basilissa, MM. in Galatia, circ. a.d. 252. 

SS. Saturninus and IX. Companions, MM. in Africa. 

S. Basil, P.M. at Ancyra, a.d. 363. 

S. Lea, W. at Rome, circ. a.d. 383. 

S. Deogratias, B. of Carthage, circ. A.D. 456. 

SS. Herlinda and Reinilda, V.V. Abss. at Maeseyck, in Belgium, 

8th cent. 
S. Benvenutus, B. ofOsimo, in the Marches of Ancona, a.d. 1276. 
S. Eelko Liaukman, Ab. of Lidlom, in Holland, A.D. 1332. 
B. Thomas of Lancaster, M. at Pontefract, a.d. 1321. 
S. Katharine of Sweden, V. daughter of S . Bridget, a.d. 1381. 
B. Nicolas von der Flue, H. at Sachseln, in Switzerland, 

A.D. 1487. 


[Ancient Martyrology of S. Jerome ; Gallican & Roman Martyrologies.] 

JNT PAUL, mentioned by the early martyr- 
ologies as bishop of Narbonne, and confessor, 
has been conjectured to be Sergius Paulus, the 
pro-consul, converted in the island of Cyprus by 
the apostle Paul when Elymas, the sorcerer, withstood S. 
Paul There is no evidence substantiating this, nor does it 
appear to rest on any very ancient tradition. 

The most ancient martyrologies do not assert it, though 
some of them say that he was a convert of the Apostle of 
the Gentiles. The Roman Martyrology mentions the re- 
port, but does not authorise it The Acts of his life are 
not deserving of credence. S. Paul certainly lived much 
later than he is represented to have done. 

Some relics are preserved in the Church of S. Paul at 

j< >j< 

March 2.i 5". Aphrodisius. 407 


[Roman Martyrology, the Evora Breviary, and others.] 

This bishop, an Egyptian by birth, accompanied S. Paul 
of Narbonne, in his mission into Gaul. A foolish legend l 
(fabulosa narratio it is called by Henschenius) is to the 
effect that he was governor of Egypt at the time when 
S. Joseph and the B. Virgin went down thither with the 
Holy Child Jesus, to escape the persecution of Herod who 
sought the young child's life. On the arrival of the child 
Jesus in Egypt all the idols fell, and Aphrodisius, recog- 
nising in Him his God, bowed before Him in adoration, 
and defended the Holy Family from the rage of the idola- 
trous priests. After the Ascension he laid down his 
prefectship and went to Antioch where he was baptized by 
S. Peter, and afterwards sent with S. Sergius Paulus into 
Gaul. S. Aphrodisius, however, certainly lived much later 
than he is represented to have done. 

(a.d. 363.) 

[Roman Martyrology. By the Greeks on the same day. In the Syriac 
Church, a S. Basil and his Companions are commemorated on March ist, 
and another S. Basil and his Companions on March 8th, and S. Basil, 
P. M., on March 28th in the Coptic Kalendar. The Greek Acts are 
genuine, and were written by a contemporary. Other versions of the Acts 
exist, but they are corrupted by the intermixture of the Acts of another 
S. Basil, a frequent mistake, when there are several saints of the same 

S. Basil was a priest of Ancyra, very fervent in spirit, 
zealous in upholding the Catholic faith, and combating the 
Arian heresy foot to foot An Arian synod of bishops 
ordered his degradation from his office, in 360, and ap- 

1 Related by Peter de Natalibus, lib. iii. c. ai8. 

408 Lives of the Saints. [March a . 

pointed Eudoxius, a bishop, and an Arian, in his place. 
But Basil encouraged by the Catholic bishops refused to 
budge, but maintained his ground, and was indefatigable in 
stimulating the courage of the faithful, and encouraging the 
half-hearted. He was the means of restoring large numbers 
of those who had been taught by the Arians to disbelieve in 
the consubstantiality of the Son with the Father to full 
Catholic faith, thereby exasperating the heretics against him. 
He was one of those fiery enthusiasts of resistless energy, 
uncompromising with himself and others, a type as needful 
as the soft and gentle saint, winning through love. The 
burning faith of Basil carried him dauntless into danger, and 
made him regardless of opposition, and those spirits which 
looked to a strong nature for support found a rock in Basil. 
As soon as Julian assumed the purple, paganism was 
revived; and if the Christians were not openly perse- 
cuted, every means which craft could devise of break- 
ing their resolution were resorted to, and with such success 
that the mild measures of Julian proved more dangerous to 
the Church than the fiery persecution of Decius. But the 
patience of Julian gave way towards the end of his career, 
and it is certain that in some cases he encouraged, and in 
others connived at the resort to violence to punish the most 
zealous upholders of Christianity. The charges against 
those most obnoxious were not always their religion, but 
contempt of the edicts or seditious conduct. Basil worked 
so effectually in Ancyra to counteract the imperial policy 
that the pagan priests and governor were resolved to destroy 
him, hoping that, if the prop of the Ancyran Christians were 
removed, their faith would yield with a crash. Macarius, 
one of the priests of the idols, laid hold of Basil as he was 
publicly denouncing heathen worship, and drew him 
before the magistrate, Saturninus, on the charge of stirring 
up the people against the established religion. "What 


March 22.] S. Basil. 409 

meanest thou," cried Macarius, "going to and fro in the 
city, agitating the people against the religion established by 
the emperor?" "God break thy jaws, thou bondslave of 
Satan !" answered Basil. " It is not I who ruin thy religion, 
but He who is in Heaven who confounds thy counsel and 
dissipates thy lies." 

Then Macarius cried out to the proconsul, " I charge 
this fellow with making sedition in the city, stirring up the 
people to overthrow our altars and defy the emperor." 
" Who art thou," asked Saturninus, " who art so audacious 
as to do these things ?" Basil replied, " I am the best of 
everything, a Christian." 

"Then why, if thou art a Christian, dost not thou 
behave as a Christian ?" " I do," answered Basil ; " it 
behoves every Christian to make bare all acts." 

"Why dost thou make revolt in the city, transgressing 
good laws, and blaspheming the emperor." 

" I do not blaspheme the emperor or his religion. God 
is my emperor, and He will bring your petty established 
religion to naught in no time." 

" So the religion of the emperor is not true !" 

" How can I regard that religion as true, and that worship 
as true which consists in men running howling about the 
streets like rabid dogs with raw flesh in their mouths." 1 

" Hang him up and scrape him," said the proconsul. So 
Basil was suspended by his wrists and ankles, and his flesh 
was torn with rakes. And as he suffered he cried, " Lord God 
of ages, I thank thee that I am deemed worthy to enter into 
the way of life through these torments, walking through 
which I may behold the heirs of thy promises !" Then he 
was taken down and cast into prison. And after that the 
proconsul sent to the emperor Julian, to announce what 

1 He is alluding to the OmophaRlc rites of Zeus Zagreus, in which the worship- 
pers fell on a sheep and tore it with their teeth and ran about with the blood 
dripping from their jaws. 


4io Lives of the Saints. [March M . 

had taken place, and to ask further orders. Then the 
emperor sent three renegade Christians, and advised the 
proconsul to endeavour by all means to persuade and natter 
Basil into apostasy. But though all efforts were used to 
shake his resolution they failed, and Basil remained in 
chains till Julian himself passed through Ancyra on his way 
east to the Persian war. Then Basil was summoned before 
the emperor, and Julian endeavoured to persuade him to 
conform to his religion, but the holy martyr blazed forth in 
righteous zeal against the apostate. " Thou renegade hast 
abdicated the throne prepared for thee in heaven," he said ; 
" And verily I believe that Christ whom thou hast abjured 
will take thee and pluck thee out of thy dwelling, that thou 
mayest know how great is that God whom thou hast offended. 
Thou hast not thought of His judgments, nor venerated 
His altar where thou wast given salvation ; thou hast not 
kept His law which often thou didst declare with thy lips ; 
wherefore the great emperor Christ will not remember thee, 
but will take from thee speedily thy earthly empire, and thy 
body shall be deprived of a sepulchre, and thou shalt 
breathe forth thy soul in greatest anguish." 

Then Julian ordered him to be taken away, and seven 
thongs to be cut daily from his skin. This command was 
given to Frumentinus, Count of the Squires (Comes Scutari- 
orum.) And when this had been done, the martyr gathered 
up one of the strips of skin cut off him, in his hand, 
and besought that he might be conducted before the 
emperor. And as Frumentinus believed that he was about 
to make adjuration of his religion, he brought him into the 
council hall before Julian. Then he cried, " Dumb and 
deaf and blind are thy idols, Apostate ! To me to live is 
Christ, and to die is gain. He is my helper in whom I 
trust, and for whom I suffer. Here is meat for thee, 
Julian !" and he flung the strip of skin in his face. 


March .j ,5*. Deogratias. 411 

Then the count, alarmed at having occasioned this scene, 
by suffering Basil to return into the emperor's presence, 
hurried him out and cast him into prison. On the morrow 
Julian departed for Antioch, without having seen the count, 
who feared that he had fallen into disgrace, and therefore 
vented his spleen on the martyr. He had iron spikes heated 
red-hot, and Basil thrown upon them, so that they burnt 
into his bowels. But Basil prayed, "Christ is my light, 
and Jesus is my hope, a calm port in tempest. I give Thee 
thanks, Lord God of my fathers, because thou hast saved 
my soul from the abyss ; keep Thy Name inviolate in me, 
and make me an heir of eternal quiet, for the promise made 
unto my fathers by the great High Priest, Jesus Christ, our 
Lord; through whom I pray Thee receive my spirit into 
peace, persevering in my confession ; for Thou art merciful 
and long-suffering and full of compassion ; who livest and 
abidest through ages of ages. Amen." And when he had 
ended his prayer, as one overcome with slumber, he ceased 
and gave up his spirit 

(about a.d. 456.) 

[Roman Martyrology. Authority : Victor of Utica. Hist. Persec. 
Vandalorum, lib. i.] 

Carthage was taken by Genseric king of the Vandals in 
October, 439, and then began that fearful Arian persecution of 
the Catholics which almost surpassed those of the heathen 
emperors in horror. Bishop Quodvultdeus had been sent 
adrift along with his clergy in a broken vessel, and had been 
carried by the wind in safety to Naples. The church of 
Carthage was without a chief pastor for about fourteen years, 
till in 454, Deogratias was created bishop. 


412 Lives of the Saints. [March 33 . 

In 455, Genseric entered Rome, which he found unde- 
fended. Pope S. Leo met him at the gates and obtained 
from him that the city should not be burnt, nor should the 
inhabitants be massacred, but that the Vandal conquerors 
were to content themselves with the pillage. Rome was 
therefore pillaged deliberately during a fortnight, and then 
the Vandals retired carrying with them an immense treasure, 
amongst other things of value, the sacred vessels which 
Titus had taken from the temple of Jerusalem. They 
returned to Africa also encumbered with crowds of captives 
whom they sold to the Moors and amongst themselves. 
Wives were separated from their husbands, and children 
from their parents. The holy bishop, stirred to the depths 
of his soul by the misery that he saw, sold all the gold 
and silver vessels of the churches of Carthage, and spent 
the proceeds in redeeming those slaves whose cases were 
most urgent and distressing. And, because there was not 
found any other place sufficiently capacious to receive the 
ransomed multitude, he devoted to their accommodation 
the church of S. Fausta, and the new church, which he 
filled with straw and with beds. As there were many sick 
amongst this crowd, some who had suffered from sea-sick- 
ness, and others from the disorders consequent on being 
crowded together in small vessels, the holy prelate visited 
them at all hours, with medicines, and proper food, and 
ministered to their necessities with his own hands. He did 
not even rest at night, but walked up and down the 
churches visiting the beds, and seeing that order and 
comfort prevailed. The emergency gave the aged and 
decrepid man new strength. The Arians envious of his 
virtue, made several attempts on his life, but they failed. 
The labour and exhaustion consequent on this tax on his 
energies overcame him, and he died peaceably after having 
held the see only three years. He was secretly buried, 

March 22.] B. Eelko Liaukaman, Ab. 413 

whilst the Catholics were engaged in their churches at 
prayer, for fear lest the people, who loved him as a father, 
should carry off his revered body. After his death Genseric 
forbade the ordination of bishops in the whole proconsular 
province and in Zeugitania, where there were as many as 
sixty-four. Thus, by deaths and imprisonment, the number 
of Catholic bishops in thirty years was reduced to three. 

(a.d. 1332.) 

[Norbertine Martyrology. Venerated anciently at Lidlom, in Holland. 
Authority : Life by Sibrand Leonius, Norbertine Canon, 1580.] 

The blessed Eelko Liaukaman was abbot of the wealthy 
Norbertine house of Lidlom, in Friesland, at a time when 
the wealth of the abbey had tended greatly to the relaxation 
of discipline. The possessions of the abbey were far apart, 
and the lay-brothers were sent about to the different farms 
and cells to attend to the secular interests of the society. 
The abbot soon ascertained that these men took advantage 
of their being away from supervision to lead disorderly lives, 
drinking and not unfrequently falling into worse offences. 
He at once undertook to correct this scandalous conduct as 
far as possible, and visited the farms and places whither the 
lay-brothers had been sent at unexpected times ; the conse- 
quence of which was that he sometimes caught them 
tripping, and as a necessary corollary, incurred their deadly 
enmity. The chief malefactors determined on his destruc- 
tion, and planned to murder him when he was at his castle 
of Ter-poort. He had retired for the night, shut his door, 
" put on his night-shirt, drawers, belt and cap, gone to bed, 
poured forth his prayers, and composed himself to sleep," 1 

1 " Clauso cubile, interula, caligis, cingulo, plleoquc nocturno instructus, lecio 
bos colocat ; fusis ad Oeum precibus, omno e componit." 

414 Lives of the Saints. [March aa . 

when the conspirators burst in through the window. Hear- 
ing the noise, the abbot rose up in his bed, and asked 
gently what was the matter. Then the disorderly lay- 
brothers began to shower abuse on him, and call him a 
hypocrite, a glutton, and a drunkard. " My sons, when 
saw ye me drunk?" "Oh, you put your tipple away up 
your sleeves, so as to drink on the sly," they said. " Go," 
said he, " shake my sleeves and see for yourselves." They 
did so, and a shower of red roses fell on the floor. Then 
rushing on him with sticks they beat his brains out, and 
drawing his body through the window flung it into the moat. 
Next morning a woman who was passing saw a portion of 
his white night gear above the water and gave the alarm. 
The body was raised from the moat. The murderers were 
afterwards caught and executed. 

Before the so-called Reformation the B. Eelko was 
venerated as a saint, and represented in art shaking roses 
out of his habit 

(a.d. 1321.) 

[Inscribed in his additions to Usuardus by Herman Greven, in the 
German Martyrology of Canisius, and by Ferrarius in his General Catalogue 
of the Saints. Not mentioned in the Anglican or Roman Martyrologies, 
but it is certain that Thomas of Lancaster received veneration shortly after 
his execution, and that miraculous cures were attributed to his relics.] 

There have been, as there probably ever will be, great 
differences of opinion as to the justice of beheading Thomas, 
Earl of Lancaster, cousin-german to king Edward II. 

Edward of Carnarvon had received his father's final 
instructions before Edward I. died. Of these the principal 
were ; that he should devote a certain sum to the succour 
of the Holy Land ; that he should persist in the conquest 



March m.] B. Thomas of Lancaster. 415 

of Scotland; and that he should not recall his favourite, 
Piers de Gaveston (a young Gascon, whom the king had 
lately banished), without the consent of parliament 

Every one of these commands were directly violated by 
the young king. His first act was to send for Gaveston ; 
and to confer on him the royal earldom of Cornwall. The 
old ministers and judges were nearly all dismissed. Lang- 
ton, bishop of Coventry, the treasurer of the late king, who 
had formerly reproved the extravagance of the prince and 
his favourite, was thrown into prison. Gaveston received 
the money left for the crusade, was made lord chamberlain ; 
betrothed to Margaret de Clare, niece of the king; and 
presently, when Edward went to marry Isabel of France at 
Boulogne, left regent of England. 

The jealousy of the great nobles was already excited ; 
but when they beheld the king, on his return, rush into the 
arms of his favourite without regarding them ; and when 
they saw Gaveston take precedence of them all at the coro- 
nation of Edward, their anger burst forth. Three days after 
the ceremony they called upon the king to dismiss his 
minion. Edward deferred the matter until parliament 
should meet, hoping by that time to soothe their resent- 
ment. All his efforts, however, was rendered nugatory by 
the pride and insolence of Gaveston, and the nobles insisted 
on his expulsion. Edward was obliged to give way, and 
Gaveston to swear that he would never return. The king, 
however, escorted him to Bristol with every mark of honour, 
and mortified his enemies still more by appointing the exile 
his lieutenant in Ireland. 

From the day of Gaveston's departure the king laboured 
to effect his recall. He solicited the intervention of the 
pope ; and having obtained a conditional abrogation of the 
oath taken by Gaveston, ordered him to return. Receiving 
him in person at Chester, he brought him to meet parlia- 


41 6 Lives of the Saints. [March . 

ment. Here he induced the bishops and peers to consent 
that his favourite should remain in England; but they 
added, as long as he conducted himself well. 

In a very short time, however, the absolute ascendancy of 
Gaveston over the king, his ostentation and presumption, 
had revived the animosity of the barons. Lancaster and 
his friends refused to attend the next parliament. Edward, 
who wanted money, found it necessary to yield. He 
prologued the parliament to London, and leaving Gaveston 
in retirement, repaired to the capital. The great barons 
attended with such a military force, that Edward was 
obliged to grant all their demands. A committee of seven 
prelates, eight earls, and six barons, under the name of 
ordainers, was appointed, with full powers to redress the 
grievances of the nation. Gaveston was again banished 
and as speedily was recalled by the king in defiance of his 
parliament The barons then took up arms, and captured 
Gaveston at Scarborough (May 19th, 131 2), and executed 
him by order of Lancaster and the other insurgent nobles 
at Blacklow, near Coventry. 

The news of this audacious deed affected the king with 
the most passionate grief, to which was quickly added a 
fierce desire for revenge. His anger was not diminished 
when the barons followed up the blow by a peremptory 
demand that the ordinances for the better government of 
England and the rectification of flagrant abuses should be 
carried into effect. A superficial reconciliation was however 
effected. The parliament assembled at Westminster hall, 
and Edward having taken his seat on the throne, the earl of 
Lancaster and his associates knelt before him, and solicited 
a pardon for the acts which had offended him. Taking each 
petitioner by the hand, the king bestowed upon him the kiss 
of peace, promised, and the next day published, a general 

* * 

March 22 .] B. Thomas of Lancaster. 417 

Some time after the death of Gaveston, the ordainers had 
imposed upon the king, as chamberlain, a young man 
named Hugh le Despenser, son of one of the great barons. 
From an object of dislike, he soon became the favourite of 
Edward. With his father, he had ably supported the king 
in his resistance to the earl of Lancaster, and he had 
become especially odious to the earl's party. But, however 
loyal, the chamberlain was undoubtedly rapacious ; and a 
harsh attempt to enforce the feudal law to his own advan- 
tage, excited the lords Marchers of Wales to arm against 
him. The earl of Lancaster soon joined them ; and the 
united barons, marching upon London, decreed that the 
Despensers (who were both absent), should be banished. 
The bishops protested ; but the king and his friends were 
forced to assent to this lawless proceeding. Two months 
after the king recalled the Despensers, and took the field 
against the barons. The earl assaulted the royal castle of 
Tichhill ; but failing in his attempts, he hurried southwards 
to stop the advance of Edward at Burton-on-Trent The 
king, however, forced the passage of the river, and the 
barons retreated hastily to Pontefract. There a stormy 
council was held. Lancaster was for making a stand at 
that point ; but over-borne by his associate, he resumed the 
retreat. At Boroughbridge, however, he found the way 
barred by a strong force under Sir Andrew Harkeley, 
governor of Carlisle, and Sir Simon Ward, sheriff of York- 
shire. After a vain endeavour to gain the adhesion of 
Harkeley, who had formerly received knighthood at his 
hands, Lancaster resolved to force the passage of the 
bridge ; but the earl of Hereford having been slain in the 
attempt, and an attack by a ford having been repulsed, earl 
Thomas took refuge in a chapel, saying, as he looked upon 
the crucifix ; " Lord, I render myself to Thee and Thy 
mercy." He was, nevertheless, dragged out by the royal- 
vol. in. 27 
* # 


418 Lives of the Saints. [March 21. 

ists, who, despoiling him of his rich surcoat, clothed him in 
a common livery, and conveyed him down the river to 
York, where he was received with every kind of insult. 
Thence he was taken to Pontefract Castle, which he at that 
time possessed in the right of his wife, the heiress of the 
De Lacys, and presented to the king. 

The death of Gaveston was now to be avenged. The 
earl of Lancaster was brought a prisoner into his own hall ; 
and there the king, with the earls of Kent, Richmond, 
Pembroke, the elder Spenser, and other of his party, 
condemned him to be drawn, hanged, and beheaded. 
Edward, however, remitted the more degrading parts of 
the sentence. The earl was at once delivered into the 
hands of a band of Gascons, who put an old cap on his 
head, set him on a lean white pony, and led him out to 
immediate execution. The presence of' his confessor, a 
Dominican monk, who walked by his side, did not save the 
earl from the insults of the royalist rabble. They threw 
pellets of dirt at him, and derisively saluted him as " king 
Arthur." In this manner he was conducted to the summit 
of a hill without the town, where he was ordered to kneel, 
with his face to the north, and then his head was stricken 
off by "a villain of London." 

A martyr to religion Thomas of Lancaster was not, but 
he was a martyr for the rights and liberties of English 

He both furthered the cause of public liberty, and 
perished in its defence. Witness the part he took in 
framing the ordinances " for the common benefit of the 
kingdom, and the peace and prosperity of all the people 
generally." All his transactions show that the earl was a 
man of noble purposes, naturally averse to arbitrary power, 
and a lover of liberty in the true and rational sense of its 
value. The sentence pronounced against him was formalty 


March as.] B. Thomas of Lancaster. 4 1 

revoked by act of parliament; and the priory church at 
Pontefract, which claimed to have his body buried on the 
right hand of the high altar, became the scene of a series of 
miracles. There is a record in the Corpus Christi College 
at Cambridge " of the miracles God wroughte for Seint 
Thomas of Lancaster : wherefore the king lete close the 
church doors of Pountfret of the Prioree, for no man shall 
come therein to the body for to offeren." The veneration 
extended to London and became so prominent that a 
royal proclamation was issued denouncing and threatening 
the worshippers of the effigy : " Inimici et rebelli nostri 
fotue accedentes earn absque auctoritate Ecclesise Romanse 
tanquam rem sanctificatam colunt et adsunt, asserentes ibi 
fieri miracula, opprobrium totius Ecclesise, nostri et vestri 
dedecus, et animarum populi predicti periculum manifestum, 
ac pernisiosum exemplum aliorum." This reverence there- 
fore, however produced, was of a national and unauthorized 
character ; but within five weeks after the accession of 
Edward III. a special mission was sent to the pope from 
the king, imploring the appointment of a commission to 
institute the usual canonical investigation preparatory to the 
canonisation of a Christian hero. In June of the same year 
a king's-letter was given to Robert de Weryngton, authorising 
him and his agents to collect alms throughout the kingdom 
for the erection of a chapel on the hill where the earl was 
beheaded. Three years later (that is in 1330) the embassy 
was repeated, urging the attention of the court of Rome to a 
subject that so much interested the Church and people of 
England ; and in the April of the following year three still 
more important envoys were sent with letters to the pope, 
to nine cardinals, to the refendary of the papal court, and 
to the three nephews of his holiness, intreating them not to 
give ear to the invectives of malignant men who had 
asserted that the earl of Lancaster connived at some injury 

4 _ * 

* * 

420 Lives of the Saints. [March . 

offered to certain cardinals at Durham in the late king's 
reign. It is affirmed that, on the contrary, the earl defended 
those high personages at his own great peril; and the 
reiterated demand for his sanctification appeals to the words 
of Scripture, " Knock, and it shall be opened unto you." 

Of this strange story no continuation appears till fifty-nine 
years later, when Walshingham, the Benedictine monk of 
St. Alban's, chronicling the events of 1390 (the thirteenth 
year of Richard II.), writes, "hoc quoque anno sanctus 
Thomas de Laticastria canonizatus est" The same event is 
recorded by John Capgrave with the discrepancy of one 
year. Writing of 1389, he narrates: "And this same year 
was Thomas of Lancaster canonised, for it was seid 
commounly that he should nevir be canonised onto the 
time that all the juges that set upon him were ded, & all 
her issew." 

Notwithstanding the distinct assertions of these two 
ecclesiastical historians, the festival of Thomas of Lancaster 
is not set down in any of the Salisbury Service books either 
printed or in manuscript. Nor does his feast come among 
those which Lyndwode speaks of as introduced in later 
years. Butler makes no mention of him in his Lives of the 
Saints, nor do the Bollandists give to him more than half-a- 
dozen lines, mentioning him amongst those whom they do 
not propose to notice. 

A stone coffin found in a field not far from S. Thomas's 
Hill, near Pontefract, in the year 1828, which in local 
histories has been supposed to contain the bones of the 
earl, is still to be seen in the grounds of Lord Crewe, at 
Fryston Hall. 1 The heavy lid was removed in the presence 
of Mr. T. Wright, Rev. C. Hartshorne, and other members 

1 See Observations on the History of Thomas, earl of Lancaster, by Lord 
Houghton in the Transactions of the Archaeological Association for 1863, and 
Notes and Queries for 1850 } also "The Honour and Castle of 1'ontefract," by 
Rev. C. H. Hartshorne. 

*r * 


March 22.) B. Nicolas von der Flue. 421 

of the Archaeological Association, and the bones taken out 
and examined. The head was found between the leg 
bones. All were of unusually large proportions. They 
were afterwards restored, with the exception of the skull, to 
their ancient resting-place. The skull is preserved in 
Fryston Hall. 

(a.d. 1381.) 

[Roman Martyrology. Danish, Norwegian, and Swedish Kalendar. 
Her office was sanctioned by Innocent VIII. Authority : Her life by 
Ulph, a Brigittine friar, written thirty years after her death.] 

S. Katharine of Sweden was the daughter of Ulph, 
prince of Nierck, in Sweden, and S. Bridget. At the age 
of seven she was placed in the nunnery of Risborg. Being 
very beautiful, her father contracted her in marriage to 
Egard, a young nobleman of great virtue; but she per- 
suaded her husband to live with her a life of perpetual 
chastity. After the death of her father, S. Katharine out of 
devotion undertook a pilgrimage with her mother to various 
holy places, and came to Rome, where S. Bridget died in 
1373. Katharine returned to Sweden and died abbess of 
Vatzen, in the diocess of Lincopen, on March 24th, 1381. 

(a.d. 1487.) 

[Venerated in Unterwalden, in Switzerland, whence his cultus lias 
spread into France and the Netherlands. His life was written the year 
after his death by Heinrich von Gundelfingen, canon of Bern. See also 
Albrecht v. Bonstetten, Lel>cn d. Selig. Nicolaus von der Flue, vom j. 1487 
aus einer Nlirnberger Handschrift herausgegeben v. C. Morel, Einsiedeln, 
1862. The following account is condensed from Catholic Legends, Burns, 

Nicolas von der Flue was born in Unterwalden in the 
year 14 17, near the village of Sachseln. He was descended 

* - * 

422 Lives of the Saints. [March . 

from a race of good and pious shepherds, in whom were 
transmitted from father to son the ancient virtues of the 
Swiss, and who enjoyed during successive centuries the 
esteem of their fellow-countrymen. His parents had an 
honest competence ; and, after the example of their fathers, 
they adhered stedfastly to the true and ancient faith, re- 
spected the laws of their country, and brought up their 
children in piety and virtue. They tended their flocks 
with unwearied care ; and, after a life of tranquility, fell 
asleep in God, full of confidence; for they had walked 
before Him, like the patriarchs, to the borders of Jordan. 
The young Nicolas grew up beneath their salutary tutelage, 
and manifested always an obedient spirit and a love of 
virtue ; gentle and pious even from the days of his child- 
hood. It was often remarked by those around him, that 
after the hard labour of a whole day in the fields, when he 
returned home in the evening, he would disappear by 
stealth to pray in some secret place. His spirit began thus 
early to mortify the body, in order to give itself without 
distraction to elevated contemplation. When some one, 
out of kindness, warned him not to ruin his health in his 
youth by such severe fasts as he was accustomed to observe, 
he replied, with sweetness, that such was the will of God 
concerning him. Notwithstanding his fervent and austere 
devotion, his demeanour was cheerful and affable ; and he 
discharged with fidelity all the duties which his condition of 
life imposed upon him. He entered upon manhood en- 
dowed with a noble firmness of soul, a penetrating intelli- 
gence, and great purity of heart. In his twenty-third year 
he took arms, at the call of the magistrates, in the campaign 
against Zurich ; and again, fourteen years later, at the time 
of the occupation of Thurgau, when he commanded, as 
captain, a company of ioo men, and manifested such 
bravery, that his country decreed him a gold medal as a 


* X 

March m.} B. Nicolas von der Flue. 423 

recompense. A yet more honourable circumstance in the 
same expedition was the saving of the monastery of the 
valley of S. Katharine, near Diessenhofen, which to this day 
reveres him as its deliverer. It was owing to his exhorta- 
tions that the Swiss relinquished their design of setting fire 
to the abbey, in order to expel the enemy, who abandoned 
it soon after of their own accord. In battle he carried his 
sword in one hand, his chaplet in the other : he showed 
himself at once a fearless soldier and a merciful Christian, 
protecting the widow and the orphan, and not permitting 
the conquerors to perpetrate acts of violence against the 

Arrived at manhood, Nicolas married a virtuous young 
girl, named Dorothea Wysyling. They had ten children, 
five sons and five daughters. 

Nicolas was himself unanimously elected governor and 
judge of Obwalden. The high dignity of Landaman was 
decreed him by the general assembly several times ; but he 
feared the great responsibility ; and, without doubt, he felt 
also that God had reserved him for some other and greater 

Nicolas had thus lived fifty years for the good of his 
country and family, and esteemed by all, when, in the year 
1467, he felt himself drawn to a closer walk with God, in a 
life of entire separation from the world. His eldest son, 
John von der Flue, thus speaks of him : " My father always 
retired to rest at the same time as his children and servants ; 
but every night I saw him rise again, and heard him praying 
in his chamber until morning. Many times, also, he would 
repair in the silence of the night to the old church of S. 
Nicholas, or to other holy places. "These hours of solitude 
were to him the happiest moments of his life ; and the in- 
terior impulse became even more powerful to consecrate 
the remainder of his life to the devout contemplation of 

* * 

424 Lives of the Saints. [March aa . 

eternal truths. God also favoured him frequently with 
miraculous intimations of His divine will. On one occa- 
sion, when he went to visit his flock at a place called Berg- 
matt, according to his wont, he knelt upon the grass, and 
began to pray, when God vouchsafed him a consoling 
vision. He beheld a fragrant lily, white as snow, come out 
of his mouth, and rise towards heaven. Whilst he regaled 
himself with the perfume and beauty of the flower, his flock 
came gambolling towards him, and amongst them a noble 
horse. As he turned to look, the lily inclined itself to- 
wards the horse, which advanced and drew it from his 
mouth ; by which Nicolas was made to understand that 
the treasure to which he should aspire was in heaven : and 
if his heart was not wholly detached from the things of 
earth, he would forfeit the possession of the celestial joys 
reserved for him. 

Another time, while engaged in the ordinary business of 
his house, he saw three men approach him, of venerable 
aspect, one of whom addressed him thus : 

" Tell us, Nicolas, wilt thou put body and soul into our 
power ?" 

" I give myself to none," replied he, " but the Almighty 
God, whom I have long desired to serve with my soul and 

At these words the strangers turned with a smile one to- 
wards the other, and the first answered : " Because thou 
hast given thyself wholly to God, and art bound to Him for 
ever, I promise that in the 70th year of thine age thou shalt 
be delivered from all the troubles of this world. Remain 
constant in thy resolution. Thou shalt bear in heaven a 
glorious banner amidst the armies of God, if thou hast 
borne with patience the cross that we lay upon thee." 

Upon this the three men disappeared. These visions 
confirmed him in his resolution of separating from the 

* * 


March 2 3 .] B. Nicolas von der Flue. 425 

world. He disclosed to his wife the desire of his soul, and 
entreated her, for the love of God, to give him permission 
to fulfil this vocation. She consented with calm resignation, 
and Nicolas began at once to arrange the affairs of his 
house, assigning to each of his children his part of the in- 
heritance. He then assembled all his household, his old 
father, 70 years of age, his wife, his children, and his friends ; 
he appeared before them barefoot and bareheaded, clothed 
in the long robe of a pilgrim, with a staff and chaplet in 
his hand ; he thanked them for all the kindness they had 
shown him, exhorted them for the last time to fear God 
before all things ; then he gave them his blessing, and 
departed. That this separation was a trial to him, was 
evidenced by his frequent expressions of thankfulness to 
God that He had strengthened him to overcome for His 
service the love he bore to his wife and children. 

Nicolas set out with a tranquil heart for the place which 
God had chosen for him. Crossing valleys and mountains, 
he arrived at the limits of the Confederation. When not 
far from Aarau, at a spot whence he could see beyond the 
frontiers the little town of Liechstall, he had a remarkable 
vision. The town, with its houses and towers, appeared to 
him enveloped in flames. Terrified with this spectacle, he 
entered into conversation with a peasant whom he found in 
a neighbouring farmhouse, and made known to him his pur- 
pose, begging him to point out a solitary spot where he 
might be able to carry it into effect. This man counselled 
him to remain in his own country ; because, as the Confed- 
erates were not always well received in other parts, he might 
be unfavourably regarded, and his retreat be disturbed. 
Brother Nicolas thanked his host for this good counsel, and 
turned his face again towards home. He rested not till he 
reached Melchthal, his native place ; where he repaired to 
one of his pastures called the Kluster. There he made a 

* * 

* * 

426 Lives 0/ i/ie Saints. [March 22 . 

little hut of branches and leaves under a larch tree, in the 
midst of thorny bushes, and remained without discovery till 
the eighth day, neither eating nor drinking, but absorbed in 
prayer. Some hunters in pursuit of game first became 
aware of his retreat, and spoke of him to his brother, Peter 
von der Flue, who visited him, and besought him not to 
suffer himself to die of hunger in so wild a solitude. Bro- 
ther Nicolas assured him that he need be without uneasiness 
on his account, as he had experienced no evil result up to 
that time. Nevertheless, that he might not seem to tempt 
God, he sent secretly for the cure of Kerns, named Oswald 
Isner, and acquainted him with the whole case. This good 
man gave the following testimony after the hermit's death, 
as may be read in the parish record of the year 1488 : 

"When Bro. Nicolas had passed eleven days without 
food, he sent for me, and asked me whether he should take 
some nourishment or continue his trial, as he had always 
desired to be able to live without eating, in order that he 
might be more effectually separated from created things. 
When I saw that this could come only from the source of 
divine love, I counselled Bro. Nicolas to persevere as long 
as he was able ; and from this time to the day of his death, 
a period of more than twenty years, he continued to dis- 
pense with bodily food. As the pious brother was more 
familiar with me than with any other person, I sought ear- 
nestly to learn from him how his strength was sustained ; 
and one day he told me, in great secrecy, that when he 
assisted at Mass, and the priest communicated, he received 
a strength which enabled him to refrain from all other 

When the fame of this miraculous life spread abroad, 
people flocked from all parts to see a man whom God had 
so distinguished, and to convince themselves of its reality 
by personal observation. His quiet life was, in conse- 

* 4, 


March 22.] B. Nicolas von der Flue. 427 

quence, so much disturbed, that he determined to seek a 
more isolated spot. After traversing several of the wildest 
valleys with this intention, he beheld above a gloomy gorge, 
down which the Melch precipitates itself with deafening 
roar, a brilliant light descending from heaven. Obedient to 
this indication of the will of God, he built there a little hut. 
But the same year, his neighbours, the inhabitants of Ob- 
walden, edified by his holy life, built him a chapel with a 
small cell attached, and presented it to him as a mark of 
their affection. Brother Nicolas entered this new dwelling, 
and continued there to serve God in the same supernatural 
life. Meanwhile, the renown of his extraordinary mode of 
existence extended far and wide : many were unwilling to 
believe that a man could thus live miraculously by the sole 
grace of the Almighty, whilst others glorified God on his 

The magistrates of the canton, desiring to verify the fact 
of the monastic life of Blessed Nicolas, sent officers, who, 
for the space of a month, occupied day and night all the 
avenues of his retreat, in order that no person might bring 
provisions. Thomas, suffragan bishop of Constance, sub- 
jected the brother to a similar test when he consecrated the 
chapel ; and after him bishop Otho visited the hermit. The 
archduke Sigismund of Austria sent, for the same purpose, 
his physician, the learned and skilful Binhard de Horneck, 
in order that he might attentively observe Nicolas during 
several days and nights. Frederick III., the emperor, 
also appointed delegates to examine him ; but all these 
expedients served only to confirm the truth. Those who 
visited him were so struck with the piety and humility 
of the servant of God, that all their doubts vanished, and 
they left him penetrated with the most profound respect. 
When asked how he could exist without food, his simple 
reply was, " God knows." 


* . % 

428 Lives of the Saints. [March . 

It was only on Sundays and festival days that he left his 
cell, and assisted with the rest of his parishioners at divine 
service in the church of Sachseln. Once a year he repaired 
to Lucerne for the great procession, and to visit the cele- 
brated places of pilgrimage. When the journey became 
too fatiguing on account of his advanced age, and the gifts 
of pious persons enabled him to procure the services of a 
priest, he heard Mass daily in his own chapel, and confessed 
and received the Holy Communion frequently. He conse- 
crated to the service of God all the hours from midnight to 
midday, at which time he prayed and meditated, especially 
on the passion of Jesus Christ our Saviour, who, as he said, 
communicated to him in the exercise a miraculous strength, 
a supernatural food. 

During the remainder of the day, from midday to the 
evening, he received those who visited him ; or, when the 
weather was fine, he would traverse the mountains praying, 
or visit his friend, Brother Ulrich, and converse with him on 
divine things. Ulrich was a German gentleman, originally 
from Bavaria, who, after many remarkable adventures, had 
quitted the world to establish himself near Nicolas, in this 
solitude. Lodged in the hollow of a rock, he led a life 
similar to his, save only that he could not dispense with 
food, which the pious country-people provided for him. In 
the evening Brother Nicolas resumed his prayers; then 
he went to take a short repose upon his couch, which con- 
sisted only of two planks, with a piece of wood or a stone 
for a pillow. 

At this period the cities and states of the Swiss Confed- 
eration were at the height of their prosperity ; the fruit of 
three memorable victories over the forces of the Duke of 

Six years had not elapsed since the first of these that of 
Granson. In this famous engagement, the Confederates 


March i2.] B. Nicolas von der Flue. 429 

had humbled the haughty arrogance of Charles the Bold : 
his fine army, three times stronger than their own, had been 
cut in pieces; and this hitherto unconquered hero, the 
master of the richest provinces on this side the Alps the 
two Burgundies, Gueldres, and almost all Belgium, this 
warrior, before whom France trembled, and whom Lorraine 
had been unable to resist, fled from the field of battle with 
only six companions. Four hundred pieces of artillery, six 
hundred banners, his ducal hat, his sword of state, the three 
large diamonds, celebrated throughout Europe, which were 
destined at a subsequent period to adorn the crowns of 
mighty potentates ; in a word, a camp which was un- 
equalled in richness and magnificence throughout Christen- 
dom, and could only be compared to the camps of the 
Turks, fell into the hands of poor mountaineers, who, with 
the help of God, had defended their liberty against the 
cupidity and pride of a foreign foe. 

The second battle took place on the plains of Morat. 
Charles of Burgundy was again routed with enormous loss, 
and obliged to fly a second time, having with him only 
thirty men. The Confederates, after the battle, fell on their 
knees in thanksgiving for the success of their arms; the 
trumpets poured forth a joyous blast ; messengers, deco- 
rated with green branches, ran in all haste through the 
towns and villages, and the bells rang out exulting peals. 

The third of these great battles was fought by the Swiss 
near Nancy. The Burgundian, in his despair, had collected 
all that remained of his forces, and having on this occasion 
to contend with troops superior to his own, he displayed a 
valour worthy of his name and ancestors. But all his efforts 
were in vain ; and Charles, the last of his house on the 
throne of Burgundy, was once more totally defeated. 

The reputation of the Swiss became so great in conse- 
quence of these successes, that the most powerful princes 

* * 

430 Lives of the Saints. [March Ja . 

of Europe sent ambassadors to their assemblies, and sought 
their alliance. At the negotiations held at Zurich, in 1478, 
for concluding peace with Burgundy, were to be seen envoys 
from the emperor of Germany, the king of France, the 
Archduke of Austria, and counts and lords from far and 
near. The Swiss had no longer a single enemy to fear. 

The immense booty taken from the Burgundians, and the 
payments made on various accounts by France, had occa- 
sioned large sums of money to circulate among the people ; 
and the Swiss had lost something of their pure and disin- 
terested love for their country. 

At the close of the year, 1481, on S. Thomas's Eve, the 
deputies of the Cantons met at Stanz, in Unterwalden, for 
deliberation on matters of the highest importance connected 
with the welfare of the Confederacy. The minds of the 
delegates had been already so warped by jealousy and sel- 
fishness, that the members of the assembly of Stanz could 
come to no mutual understanding, and were unceasingly 
embittered against each other. There were two parties in 
the assembly at variance with each other ; that of the 
towns, and that of the country. The peasants of Uri, of 
Schwytz, and Unterwalden desired peace, and distrusted 
the ambition of the citizens, who would draw them need- 
lessly into war. They sought to maintain the Swiss Con- 
federation within its ancient limits, and were not disposed 
to strengthen the opposite party by the admission of new 
towns. On the contrary, the towns of Lucerne, of Berne, 
and of Zurich exerted themselves to obtain admittance into 
the Confederation for Soleure and Friebourg ; because they 
themselves lay exposed to the attacks of the enemy, Swit- 
zerland not having as yet any natural frontier ; and these 
towns had fought faithfully for Switzerland in the wars 
against Charles, and the Confederates in the hour of danger 
had promised to admit them into the league. 

* * 

^_ * 

March 22 .] B. Nicolas von der Flue. 43 1 

To this source of discord was added the envy excited by 
the division of the Burgundian booty. It was in vain that 
the cantons of Glarus and Zug sought to interpose their 
mediation, and that meetings were held in various places to 
reconcile differences. And now the Confederates were 
assembled for consultation for the last time at Stanz. The 
animosity of party, however, was so great, that after three 
sessions of angry debates, the members rose with agitated 
countenances, and separated without taking leave of one 
another, to meet again, perhaps, only in the conflict of civil 
war. That which neither the power of Austria, nor the 
fury of Charles of Burgundy had ever been able to accom- 
plish, the Swiss were themselves in danger of bringing 
about by their own internal dissensions ; and the liberty and 
happiness of their country stood in jeopardy. 

These considerations filled all good citizens with sorrow 
and alarm, and, amongst others, a curd of Stanz, named 
Henry Im Grand, a man full of zeal for the good of his 
country. As he reflected on the danger which threatened 
her, his thoughts turned to Brother Nicolas. "This man," 
said he to himself, " is, perhaps, the only one whose voice 
will command attention now," and, taking his staff, he went 
in quest of him. Brother Nicolas replied to his entreaty to 
come to Stanz with his usual gravity : " Return," said he, 
" tell the envoys of the Confederation that Brother Klaus 
has something to propose to them." 

The priest, full of hope, resumed his journey with all 
possible speed ; he hastened to the inns where the deputies 
were preparing for departure, and conjured them to be again 
reconciled, and to listen for the last time to the counsels 
and proposition of the pious hermit. They consented ; and 
some hours after, the brother appeared in the midst of the 

Notwithstanding his great age, Nicolas had performed 


* * 

432 Lives of the Saints. [March 22 . 

this long and difficult journey without resting; his fine 
majestic figure which time had scarcely bent, was seen ad- 
vancing across the market-place of Stanz to the town-hall. 
He wore, according to custom, his simple, dark-coloured 
dress, which descended to his feet; he carried his chaplet 
in one hand, and grasped his staff with the other ; he was, 
as usual, barefoot and bareheaded ; and his long hair, a 
little touched by the snows of age, fell upon his shoulders. 
When the holy man entered the hall before all the Confed- 
erates, they rose with one accord to greet him. After a few 
moments, silence was broken by the sonorous voice of the 
hermit, who addressed them with earnest words, and God 
gave such grace to his words that in one hour all difficulties 
were smoothed away, and base passions were silent through 
shame before the severe counsel of a man who appeared 
before this assembly with hands raised towards heaven, as a 
prophet sent from God. 

The Confederates, in accordance with Nicolas's advice, re- 
ceived into their league the towns of Freibourg and Soleure ; 
the ancient treaties of alliance were confirmed, and further 
consolidated by being established on the basis of new laws 
unanimously enacted. The pacification of all the Swiss 
cantons, the maintenance of public order, and of the autho- 
rity of the magistrates against disturbers of the peace, the 
division of booty according to the rule given by Nicolas, 
such were the points upon which the Confederates, who had 
so long contended with so much animosity, came this same 
day to an entire agreement. 

The brother returned the same evening to his peaceful 
hermitage. At Stanz the bells were rung, and sounds of 
rejoicing floated across the lakes and through the valleys to 
all the villages and towns of Switzerland, from the snowy 
heights of S. Gothard to the smiling plains of Thurgau. 
There was as much joy and gladness everywhere as after 





March 2 a.] , Nicolas von der Flue. 433 

the victories of Granson and Morat, and with as just cause ; 
for there the Confederates had delivered their country from 
foreign enemies ; here they saved it from their own passions. 
Their true deliverer, who had obtained from them this vic- 
tory over themselves, was the poor Brother Nicolas, and as 
such he was everywhere recognised and extolled. 

The towns and countries of the Confederation, and above 
all, Soleure and Freibourg, satisfied with the happy termina- 
tion of their dissensions, testified their gratitude to the bro- 
ther by sending him letters of thanks and precious gifts. 
He accepted the latter only when they were destined to 
adorn his chapel. Berne sent a courier with a letter of 
thanksgiving and a handsome present. The answer which 
the brother returned, through the medium of his son 
John, exists to this day in the archives of Soleure, 
to which city it was presented by Berne. From this 
time the general veneration for Brother Klaus increased 

Nicolas lived six years longer in his peaceful retreat, rich 
in benedictions. At length the time arrived when God 
would call His faithful servant from the miseries of the 
world to eternal joy. 

Before his death, God sent him a sharp sickness, in which 
he suffered indescribable pain. In this condition of suffer- 
ing he turned from side to side, writhing upon his couch 
like a worm trodden under foot. These frightful pains lasted 
eight days. He bore them with perfect resignation, and 
continued to exhort those who surrounded his bed of death 
so to conduct themselves in this life as to leave it with a 
peaceful conscience. " Death," said he, "is terrible ; but it 
is still more terrible to fall into the hands of the living God." 
When his pains were a little relieved, and the moment of 
death drew near, Nicolas desired with all the ardour of de- 
votion to receive the sacred Body of the Saviour, and to be 
vol. in. 28 




434 Lives of the Saints. [March a. 

strengthened by the Sacrament of Extreme Unction. Near 
the dying man stood his faithful companion, Brother Ulrich, 
his old friend Henry Im Grand, and the pious anchorite, 
Cecil, who after his death led for seventy years the same 
solitary life in a neighbouring cell; his faithful wife and 
children also gathered round him. In their presence he re- 
ceived the holy Sacraments with tokens of deep humility ; 
then he thanked God anew for all the benefits He had dis- 
pensed to him, prostrated himself, and died the death of the 

This event took place on the first day of the spring of the 
year 1487, the feast of S. Benedict, the same on which 
seventy years previous he was born. 

The lily had been the favourite symbol of this pure calm 
soul ; the lily in flower, resplendent with a divine glory, was 
Brother Klaus himself, the humble servant of God, whose 
name, it is said, even S. Charles Borromeo never pronounced 
but with uncovered head. 

The skeleton of Brother Klaus reposes in a shrine above 
the high altar of the Church at Sachseln, where also are 
preserved the habit, staff, and rosary of the saint A con- 
temporary portrait exists in the town-hall of Sarnen. He is 
represented as deadly pale, with deep sunk eyes, which are 
red with constant weeping. His chapel and hermitage are 
still shown in MelchthaL 

* 4* 

* _ X 

Marcha 3] S. Proadus. 435 

March 23. 

S. Proculus, B. of Verona, 4th cent. 

SS. Fin-oar, Piala, V., and Companions, MM. in Cornwall, clre. 

a.d. 450. 
S. Victorian, Proconsul of Carthage, and Companions, MM., circ. 

a.d. 484. 
SS. Liberatus, Physician, and Companions, .MAf. in Africa, circ. 

a.d. 484. 
S. Benedict, Monk in Campania, 6th cent. 
S. Ethelwold, P.H. in the Isle of Fame, circ. a.d. 713, 
S. Alphonso Toribio, B. of Lima, in Peru, a.d. 1606. 
B. Joseph Oriol, P. at Barcelona, a.d. 1703. 


(4.TH CENT.) 

[Modern Roman Martyrology. Maurolycus, Greven and Canisius give 
Dec. 9th ; Galesinus gives both days. The Roman Martyrology says that 
S. Proculus confessed Christ in the persecution of Dioclesian ; all the 
other Martyrologies, that of Verona included, and all the versions of the 
Acts extant make a mistake, and say he confessed under Maximin, the 
emperor, when he was at Milan, before Anulinus the consul. But 
Maximin never was at Milan ; and Annius Cornelius Anulinus was consul 
in the year 295, when Dioclesian and Maximian were emperors ; and 
Maximian was at Milan more than once. Anulinus was proconsul of 
Africa in 303, and we meet with him in the Acts of some of the African 
martyrs. The Acts of SS. Firmus and Rusticus are not precisely in their 
original form, or this error would not have crept in, of making Maximian 
into Maximin ; otherwise they seem to be trustworthy.] 

A I NT PROCULUS was the fourth bishop of 
Verona. During the persecution waged by 
Dioclesian and Maximian against the Church, 
Anulinus the consul came to Milan breath- 
ing out threatenings and slaughter against the faithful. 
And when he had laid his hands on SS. Firmus and 
Rusticus, the holy bishop Proculus went to them into 
their prison to encourage them to strive manfully for 

* * 

436 Lives of the Saints. [March a3 . 

Christ. And he kissed them and said, " Be strong in the 
Lord Jesus, and receive me, my brethren, as your fellow in 
death ; for I desire greatly to be your companion, that we 
may have but one will and one struggle for the Lord, so 
that we may merit to enter into His glory and sing His 
praises eternally?" And they answered, "So be it" Now 
Anulinus had sent to have the martyrs brought before him ; 
and the officers came to the door, and saw the old man 
sitting with Firmus and Rusticus, and they laughed, and 
said, " What does that old man want with these condemned 
criminals ?" Then the blessed Proculus answered, " They 
are not condemned criminals, but crowned victors of the 
Lord ; and would that I might share their glory !" So say- 
ing he held out his hands to the officers that they might be 
bound ; so they bound him. 

Anulinus sat on his judgment seat, and they brought 
before him Firmus and Rusticus, and after them the 
venerable Proculus. "Who is this old man?" asked the 
magistrate ; and when they told him, Anulinus said, " He 
drivels, send him off." So they unbound him and beat him 
about the face, and drove him out of the city. 

So far from the Acts of SS. Firmus and Rusticus, other 
accounts of S. Proculus are less authentic. According to 
these latter, he went to Jerusalem together with some 
companions, when the persecution was at an end, and was 
taken captive and sold as a slave ; but was released, on 
account of his advanced age. On his way home he passed 
through Pannonia, and an odd story is related of the 
journey. The old man felt the want of a razor, and was ill- 
content at remaining unshaven so long. At length, passing 
through a country where there was no water, and unable to 
endure the growth on his chin and place of tonsure any 
longer, he summoned water out of the rock, and giving an 
old blunt knife to his attendant bade him shave boldly. 

4, __ ^ 

March a 3 .j SS. Fingar & Piala. 437 

Then wondrous to relate the bristles on the old man came 
off lightly, as though mown by the keenest razor. 

The relics of the saint were discovered on the rebuilding 
of the confession or church of S. Proculus, in 1492. 


(ABOUT A.D. 450.) 

[Anglican Martyrology of J. Wilson. In Brittany at Lok-Eguignar, 
where the church is dedicated to him; the saint is commemorated on 
December 14th. Colgan by mistake, February 23rd. The Life and 
Martyrdom of S. Fingar, written by one Anselm, but not S. Anselm of 
Canterbury, is fabulous. Another Life in Brittany.] 

There was a prince named Corotic 1 of Cornwall or 
South Wales, who was a pirate and a persecutor at once. 
In, or about, A.D. 450, but certainly just before S. Patrick 
left Munster, in 452, Corotic landed with a party of his 
armed followers, many of whom were Christians, at a season 
of solemn baptism, and set about plundering a district in 
which S. Patrick had just baptized and confirmed a great 
many converts, and on the very day after the holy chrism 
was seen shining on the brows of the white-robed neophytes. 
Having murdered several persons, these marauders carried 
off a considerable number of people, whom they sold as 
slaves to the Scots and Picts. S. Patrick wrote a letter, now 
extant, which he sent to these pirates, requesting them to 
restore the baptized captives, and some part of the booty. 
The letter was received with scorn, and S. Patrick was 
under the necessity of issuing a circular epistle against 
them and their chief Corotic, in which he proclaimed that 
he excommunicated and cut off from Christ those same 
robbers and murderers, and forbade Christian people 
receiving them and giving them meat or drink. He re- 

> The Caradeuc of the Britons, Caraduc of the Welsh, the latinized Caractacui. 
* * 

43 8 Lives of the Saints. [March a3 . 

quested the faithful to read the epistle everywhere, and 
before Corotic himself, and to communicate it to his 
soldiers, in the hope that they and their master might 
return to God. 

It is probable that S. Fingar was one of the sufferers in 
this expedition. He and his sister Piala were probably 
carried to Cornwall, and there put to death. But all this is 
very uncertain. The life by Anselm tells the story thus : 
Fingar or Guigner, the son of the Irish king Clito, and a 
convert to Christianity through the preaching of S. Patrick, 
fled his country to avoid the consequences of his father's 
wrath, together with several young nobles to Brittany, where 
he was kindly received by the chief of the province, and 
having got ample possessions from him, erected an oratory. 
Afterwards he returned to Ireland, and there collected 
nearly eight hundred faithful, among whom were seven 
bishops and his sister Piala. Leaving Ireland they arrived 
at the port of Hayle, in Cornwall, anciently called Pen-dinas, 
but now called Hayle, after S. Hija, an Irish virgin, who had 
set out after them, on a leaf of a tree which had been blown 
into the sea, and on which she was wafted to the Cornish 
coast S. Hija received them hospitably, and forwarded 
them on their way. At night they reached the hut of a 
pious woman who invited them all in, and as there were 
not beds enough for the whole company, pulled the thatch 
off her roof, and strewed it on the floor. Then she killed 
her only cow,, and served its meat to the holy comrades, 
who satisfied themselves thereon, and then S. Fingar took 
the skin, put the bones inside it, and having prayed, the 
cow rose up whole, and began to low. Theodoric this is 
Anselm's version of the name Corotic the earl of Cornwall, 
hearing of the passage through his lands of this large party 
of saints, waylaid and massacred them. S. Fingar planted 
his staff at his side, and stretched forth his neck, and his 


ft _ _ X 

March j 3 .j ^ Victorian. 439 

head was smitten off at one blow. Then a spring bubbled 
up from the ground moistened by his blood, and his staff 
grew and put forth leaves beside the holy well. 

It is almost needless to point out the utter worthlessness 
of this fable. That there was a S. Fingar, and that he 
suffered under Corotic is likely enough. The violence and 
murders committed by this piratical prince are established 
historical facts. But if S. Fingar had been a king's son, he 
would certainly have been mentioned in some of the lives 
of S. Patrick, which he is not. Anselm says that his father, 
Clito, was the most noble and powerful of the seven Irish 
kings who received S. Patrick. Now there is nothing better 
authenticated than that the head king at that time was 
Leogaire. The chief difficulty according to Colgan, consists 
in the name Theodoric ; but the name was not unknown 
among the Britons. A Teudric, or Theodoric, was king 
of Glamorgan, about the latter end of the sixth century, 
(Usher, p. 562.) But Albertus Magnus maintains (De 
Sanctis Britan. Armor), that the Cornubia spoken of in 
Fingar's Acts was Cornouaille, in Brittany, and informs us 
that Fingar's festival is celebrated at Vannes, on December 
13th. Lobineau, in his History of Brittany, mentions a 
Theodoric son of Budic, and count of Cornouaille, but he 
lived late in the sixth century. But possibly Theodoric 
is a mistake for Corotic, made by some copyist 

(about a.d. 484.) 

[Usuardus, Ado, Notker, ancient and modern Roman Martyrologies. 
Authority : Victor of Utica's History of the Vandal Persecution.] 

Victorian, proconsul of Carthage, a native of Adrumc- 
tum, was one of the wealthiest men in North Africa, and 



440 Lives of the Saints. [March a3 . 

had discharged several important offices under Hunneric, 
the Vandal king, son of Genseric. But Hunneric being 
resolved to trample out the faith in the Godhead of Christ, 
and establish the Arian heresy throughout his dominions, 
offered Victorian the highest honours, and his own special 
favour, if he would regard Christ as a creature. Victorian 
replied, " Nothing can separate me from the faith and love 
of our Lord Jesus Christ In the confidence that I have in 
so mighty a master, I am ready to suffer all kinds of tor- 
ments rather than to consent to Arian impiety. You may 
burn me or expose me to wild beasts, or kill me by other 
tortures; but never will you prevail on me to desert the 
Catholic Church in which I was baptized." This reply so 
exasperated the tyrant that he made the saint undergo the 
worst and most protracted torments his ingenuity could 
devise. Victorian endured them all with a good courage, 
and gained the martyr's crown. 

In the city of Tambala also many suffered for the right 
faith, and in that of Aquae regiae two brothers exhibited 
great constancy. They were hung up by their wrists, with 
heavy weights attached to their feet. After having thus 
hung all day, the endurance of one brother gave way, and 
he cried out to be released. Then the other exclaimed, 
" Do not so, brother ! or I will accuse thee at the judgment 
seat of Christ ; for have we not sworn over His Body and 
Blood to suffer together for Him?" Then the weaker 
brother was strengthened to endure, and the Vandals 
incensed at their obstinacy, applied red-hot plates of iron to 
their flesh, and tore them with iron rakes, and so, they 
entered into the joy of their Lord. 

Two merchants of Carthage, both named Frumentius, 
also sold all that they had, even to their lives, to gain the 
most precious pearl of eternal life. 

The Church honours also on the same day S. Liberatus, 

* 1 

March 3J .S. Ethelwold. 441 

his wife, and sons, who suffered in the same persecution. 
Liberatus, a physician of Carthage, was exiled, along with 
his wife, on account of his faith. He felt keenly the being 
separated from his children, but his wife consoled him, 
saying, " Think no more of thy children, Jesus Christ will 
be their guardian." The husband and wife were incarcer- 
ated in separate prisons, so as not to see one another. 
"Thy husband has submitted to the orders of the king," 
said the Arians to the wife : " therefore do thou yield also." 
But she answered, " Let me see him and speak with him." 
Then she was conducted to where he was, and she re- 
proached him for his apostasy. But he exclaimed, " They 
have deceived thee, O my wife, never have I renounced my 
faith." Then she gave praise to God. It is not known 
how these saints suffered, but they are honoured by the 
Church as martyrs. 

(about a.d. 723.) 

[Menardus on Jan. 6th. Edward Mayhew in his Trophaea Cong. 
Anglic. O.S.B. on Match 23rd. So Heronymus Porter in his Florcs 
Vitarum Sanct. Angliae, Scotia?, and Hibernias. The revised Anglican 
Martyrology of 1640, on same day. Authority : Bede in his life of 
S. Cuthbert.] 

S. Ethetwold, or Ethelwold, was for some time a 
monk at Ripon, " where having received the priestly office," 
says Bede, " he sanctified it by a life worthy of that degree. 
After the death of that man of God, Cuthbert, this venerable 
priest succeeded him in the exercise of a solitary life, in the 
cell which the saint had inhabited in the islet of Fame, 
before he was made bishop." He found the oratory of 
Cuthbert so rudely put together, that the sea-wind shrieked 
in through the joints of the planks, and though patched up 
with clay and stubble, the chapel was so full of draughts 

g, * 

* : * 

442 Lives of the Saints. [March 3 . 

that Ethelwold asked for and obtained a calfs skin, and this 
he nailed against the wall where he was wont to pray, to 
keep the wind from blowing into his ear. Bede says, " I 
will relate one miracle of Ethelwold, which was told me by 
one of the brothers who was concerned, and for whose sake 
it was wrought, Guthfried, the venerable servant and priest 
of Christ, who afterwards presided in quality of abbot over 
the church of Lindisfarne, in which he was educated. I 
came, said he, to the islet of Fame, with two other brothers, 
desiring to speak with the most reverent father Ethelwold ; 
and when we had been comforted by his discourses, and 
having asked his blessing, were returning home, when on a 
sudden, as we were in the sea, the fair weather that was 
wafting us over changed, and so great and furious a storm 
fell on us, that neither sail nor oars availed, and we de- 
spaired of life. 

" Having a good while struggled in vain with the wind and 
waves, we looked back at last to see if by any means we 
might return to the island, but found that we were equally 
beset with the tempest on all sides ; but we could perceive 
Ethelwold at the mouth of his cavern, contemplating our 
danger. For, hearing the howl of the wind, and the roar of 
the sea, he came forth to see how we fared. And when he 
saw our desperate condition, he bent his knees to the 
Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to pray for our life and 
safety. As he finished his prayer, the swelling sea imme- 
diately abated its violence, and the rage of the winds 
ceased, and a fair gale springing up bore us over the 
smooth waters to the shore. But no sooner had we 
arrived, and drawn our boat out of the water, than the 
same storm began to rage again, and ceased not all that 
day ; to the end that it might plainly appear, that this small 
intermission had been granted from heaven at the prayer of 
the man of God, that we might escape." 



March 23.) 

6". Ethelwold. 


S. Ethelwold spent twelve years at Fame, and died 
there ; but he was buried in Lindisfarne, in the Church of 
S. Peter, near the bodies of SS. Cuthbert and Eadbert His 
bones were afterwards taken up in the time of the Danish 
ravages, 875, and were translated to Durham in 995, and 
more honourably enshrined in 1160. 


. WO THIEVES, p (15. 
8 Dun.i'i. Peoitent. Tbo Impoaltont. 

With Ai.. . Lai;/ Soul to With Damon drAggiiiiJ fortb hi* unwill:uj 

i'arucUiM tioul 



444 Lives of the Saints. [March +. 

March 24. 

S. Latinus, B. of Brescia, 2nd cent. 

SS. Mark and Timothy, MM. at Rome, and cent. 

SS. Timolaus, DioNYstus, and Others, MM. at Ccesarea, 

a.d. 303. 
S. Piomenius, P.M. at Rome, a.d. 373. 
S. Domanoart of Slieve Donarth, B. in Ireland. 
S. Hildklitha, C. Abss. of Barking, in Essex, circ. a.d. 720. 
S. Bernulf, B.M. of Aste, gth cent. 
S. Simon, Child M. at Trent, a.d. 1475. 

(a.d. 303.) 

f Roman Martyrology. By the Greeks on March 15th. Authority : 
Eusebius on the Martyrs of Palestine.] 

j]USEBIUS writes of the persecution under 
Dioclesian, at Csesarea, " Who could fail to 
be struck with admiration at the sight or recital 
of the things that then took place ? For, as 
the heathen in every place were on the point of celebrating 
their accustomed games and festivals, it was much noised 
abroad that besides the other exhibitions, those who had 
been condemned to wild beasts were to be made to fight 
This report having gained ground, there were six young 
men, who, first binding their hands, hastened to Urbanus 
(the governor of the province), to prove their readiness to 
endure martyrdom, as he was on his way to the amphitheatre. 
Their names were Timolaus, a native of Pontus, Dionysius 
of Tripolis in Phcenice, Romulus, a subdeacon of the 
church at Diospolis Paesis, and Alexander, both Egyp- 
tians; and another Alexander from Gaza. They were 
immediately committed to prison. Not many days after, 
two others were added to the number, of whom one had 



March 2 4 ] 6". Domangart. 445 

already witnessed a good confession several times, under 
various dreadful tortures. His name was Agapius, but the 
other, who supplied them with the necessaries of life, was 
named Dionysius. All these, being eight in number, were 
beheaded in one day at Caesarea, on the twenty-third day 
of the month Dystrus, that is, the ninth of the Kalends of 



[Irish Martyrologies. He is not to be confounded with S. Domangart, 
the brother of S. Domnoch, or Modomnoc (Feb. 13th.) Giraldus Cam- 
brensis calls hire Dominick. Usher, thinking this S. Dominick was the 
same as Dominick of Ossory mentioned elsewhere by Giraldus, and not 
acquainted with the history of S. Domangart, fell into the mistake of 
making the mountain Slieve Slainge, called afterwards Slieve Donart, to 
be Grenore point, in Wexford. Ware followed Usher. Archdall calls 
the saint S. Domangard of Ossory, whereas the saint of Ossory was 
Domnoc, or Modomnoc, and not Domangart at all, and makes the 
promontory Carnsore.] 

S. Domangart is said to have been the son of Euchodius, 
king of Ulster, in the latter part of the 5th century, and 
during a part of the 6th. In the Tripartite Life of S. 
Patrick he is represented as a bigoted heathen and a perse- 
cutor. His two daughters having embraced Christianity 
made a vow of perpetual virginity, and their father, highly 
incensed, ordered them to be cast into the sea. Therefore 
S. Patrick cursed him and his seed for ever, excepting, how- 
ever, his unborn son, at the petition of the queen, who was 
with child. The son born to him after this was Domangart, 
and his birth is placed a short time before the foundation 
of Armagh, and it is added that he afterwards became a 
disciple of the apostle. But, as Dr. Lanigan has proved 
in his " Irish Ecclesiastical History," S. Patrick did not 
survive the foundation of Armagh more than about ten 



446 Lives of the Saints. [March 4. 

years. How then could Domangart have been his disciple? 
Then we are given to understand, that Domangart was not 
born till after his father's death, which the Four Masters 
assign to a.d. 503 (504.) This sets aside the whole story ; 
for S. Patrick was dead many years before this date. 
Jocelin, who follows the Tripartite as to Euchodius, 
Domangart, &c, omits what is said of the latter having 
been a disciple of S. Patrick. There is a fable concerning 
S. Domangart having been raised from the dead at Rome 
by S. Patrick, according to which he would have lived in 
the 5th cent. Such contradictory stories show what little 
reliance can be placed in the accounts of the saint. All 
that we can be certain of is that he founded a monastery on 
the promontory of Slieve Slainge, where in Colgan's time 
stood two churches dedicated to him. 

(about a.d. 720.) 

[Ancient Anglican Martyrologies, and Gallican Martyrology. Au- 
thority : Bede, Ecc. Hist. 1. iv. c. 10.] 

Hildelitha was one of the first virgins of the English 
nation who consecrated herself a spouse to Christ, going 
abroad to a French monastery, there being, at that time, 
none in England. When S. Erkonwald had founded the 
monastery of Chertsey for himself, and the convent of 
Barking, in Essex, for his sister Ethelburga, he sent to 
France for S. Hildelitha, and committed his sister to her 
care, to be by her instructed in monastic discipline. Thus 
S. Ethelburga herself, who was the first abbess of Barking, 
was a disciple of S. Hildelitha, though she died before her, 
and was succeeded by her in the government of the com- 
munity. Bede highly commends the piety of this saint, 
and that she was highly esteemed by others we may gather 


* * 

March 3+ . j .S". Simon, Boy M. 447 

from S. Aldhelm having addressed to her his poetical 
treatise on virginity, and from mention of her in one of the 
epistles of S. Boniface, where he relates what great things 
he had learned of her. 

S. Hildelitha departed to our Lord in a good old age, 
but the date of her death is undetermined. 


(a.d. 1475.) 

[Roman Martyrology. Authority .-The Acts of Canonization by 
Benedict XIV., and the Acts published in the Italian immediately after 
the event took place.] 

Through the Middle Ages, in Europe the Jews were 
harshly treated, suffering from sudden risings of the people, 
or from the exactions of princes and nobles. Tales of 
murder of Christian children were trumped up against 
them. This was, perhaps, the case in Trent, where on 
Tuesday in Holy Week, 1475, tne Jews met to prepare 
for the approaching Passover, in the house of one of 
their number named Samuel, and it was agreed between 
three of them Samuel, Tobias, and Angelus that a 
child should be crucified, as an act of revenge against 
their tyrants, and of hatred against Christianity. The 
difficulty, however, was how to get one. Samuel sounded 
his servant Lazarus, and attempted to bribe him into 
procuring one, but the suggestion so scared the fellow, that 
he packed up all his traps and ran away. On the Thurs- 
day, Tobias undertook to get the boy, and going out in the 
evening, whilst the people were in church during the singing 
of Tenebrge, he prowled about till he found a child sitting 
on the threshold of his father's door in the Fossati Street, 
aged twenty-nine months, and named Simon. The Jew 
began to coax the little fellow to follow him, and the boy 

* * 


448 Lives of the Saints. [March *. 

did so, and he conducted him to the house of Samuel, 
where he was put to bed, and given raisins and apples to 
amuse him. 

In the mean time the parents, Andrew and Mary, missing 
their child, began to seek him everywhere, but not finding 
him, and night falling darkly upon them, they returned, 
troubled and alarmed to their home. 

During the night, when all was still, a Jew named Moses 
took the child from its bed, and carried it into the vestibule 
of the synagogue, which formed a part of the house of 
Samuel, and sitting down on a bench began to strip the in- 
fant ; a handkerchief being twisted round its throat to prevent 
it from crying. Then stretching out his limbs in the shape of 
a cross they began the butchery of the child, cutting the 
body in several places, and gathering his blood in a basin. 
The child being half dead, they raised him on his feet, and 
whilst two of them held him by the arms, the rest pierced 
his body on all sides with their awls. 

When the child was dead, they hid the body in a cellar 
behind the barrels of wine. 

All Friday the parents sought their son, but found him 
not, and the Jews, alarmed at the proceedings of the 
magistrates, who had taken the matter up, and were making 
investigations in all quarters, consulted what had better be 
done. They could not carry the body away, as every gate 
was watched, and the perplexity was great. At length they 
determined to dress the body again and throw it into the 
stream which ran under Samuel's window, but which was 
there blocked by an iron cage in which the refuse was 
caught. Tobias was to go to the bishop and chief magis- 
trates and tell them that there was a child's body entangled 
in the grate, and he hoped that by thus drawing attention 
to it all suspicion of having been implicated in the murder 
would be diverted from him and his co-religionists. 


* * 

March 24.] S. Simon, Boy M. 449 

This was done, and when John de Salis, the bishop, and 
James de Sporo, the governor, heard the report of the Jew, 
they at once went, and the body was removed before their 
eyes, and conveyed to the cathedral, followed by a crowd. 
As, according to a popular mediaeval superstition, blood is 
supposed to flow from the wound when the murderer 
approaches, the officers of justice examined the body as the 
crowds passed it ; and they noticed that blood exuded as 
Tobias approached. On the strength of this the house of 
Samuel and the synagogue were examined, and blood and 
other traces of the butchery were found in the cellar, and in 
the place where the deed had been done, and the bowl of 
blood was discovered in a cupboard. The most eminent 
physicians were called to investigate the condition of the 
corpse, and they unanimously decided that the child could 
not have been drowned, as the body was not swollen, and 
as there were marks on the throat of strangulation. The 
wounds they decided were made by sharp instruments like 
awls and knives, and could not be attributed to the gnawing 
of water-rats. The popular voice now accusing the Jews, 
the magistrates seized on the Jews and threw them into 
prison, and on the accusation of a renegade Jew named 
John, who had been converted to Christianity seven years 
before, and who declared that the Jews had often sought to 
catch and kill a child, and had actually done this elsewhere, 
more than five of the Jews were sentenced to be broken on 
the wheel, and then burnt 

The blood found in the basin is preseived in the cathe- 
dral of Trent, and the body of the child is also enshrined 
there in a magnificent mausoleum. Such is the story. A 
boy was drowned, and his body gnawed by rats. This was 
worked up into a charge against the Jews, to excuse a 
massacre and plunder of the unfortunate Hebrews. 

vol. iil *9 





Lives oj the Saints. 

[March 94. 

March 25. 

&fje Annunciation of & ifEarjj. 

Memorial of the Crucifixion. 
The Penitent Thief, a.d. 33. 
S. Quirinus, M. at Rome, a.d. 269. 
S. Irenceus, B.M. at Sirmium, a.d. 304. 
S. Pelaoius, B. of Laodicoea, end of 4//1 cent. 
S. Dula, V.M. at Nicomedia. 

S. Camin, Ab. of Iniskeltra, in Ireland, circ. a.d. 6J3. 
S. Humbert, P.C. at Marolles, in Hainault, circ. a.d. 680. 
SS. Barontus and Desiderius, HH. at Pistoria, circ. a.d. 725. 
S. Hermeland, Ab. of Hindre, in France, 8th cent. 
S. Alfwolf, B. of Sherborne, a.d. 1075. 
S. William, Child M. at Norwich, a.d. 1144. 
S. Richard, Child M. at Paris, a.d. 1179. 
S. Ida, Abss. of Argensollei, in the diocese of Soissons, cirt. 
a.d. 1250. 


UN THE sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent 
from God unto a city of Galilee, named Naza- 
reth, to a virgin espoused to a man whose name 
was Joseph, of the house of David, and the 
virgin's name was Mary. And the angel came in unto her, 
and said, " Hail, full of Grace, the Lord is with thee : 
Blessed art thou among women." 1 

The angel, to manifest his reverence and love, saluted the 
holy virgin with an " Ave," or Hail, and he named not her 
proper name, Mary, but gave her the title " Full of Grace." 
This he did that we might understand, that as Almighty 
God gave to the Messiah the names of " Wonderful, Coun- 
sellor, the mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of 

1 S. Luke, i. 26-28. 



K ^*l|p^3 


"The angel Gabriel was sent from flod unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, to a 
virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David ; and the 
virgin's name was Mary." 

March, p. 450.] 

[March 35. 

* * 

March 25.] The Annunciation of S. Mary. 451 

Peace," 1 so also He gave to the Virgin a new and most 
glorious name, which, for excellency, is to be attributed to 
her in the Church ; so that as we call Solomon " the Wise," 
and S. Paul " the Apostle of the Gentiles," so we should 
call the Blessed Virgin the "Full of Grace," and the 
" Blessed among women." 

The festival of the Annunciation is at least as ancient as 
the Council in Trullo (a.d. 680), and is supposed, on the 
authority of a sermon attributed to S. Cyril, to have been 
kept in the 5th century. It has always been very highly 
observed in England. The Synod of Worcester, a.d. 1240, 
by one of its canons, forbade all servile work upon it, 
and this was afterwards confirmed by various provincial 
and diocesan councils in all respects except agricultural 

The tenth council of Toledo, in 656, ordered that this 
festival should be solemnized on December 18th, eight days 
before Christmas, because of its proper day arriving in Lent, 
and sometimes in Holy Week. Nevertheless, it has been 
observed on its proper day, but is transferred in the Western 
Church to after Easter, whenever it occurs in Holy Week 
or on Easter-day. 

It is said that in the church of Notre Dame du Puy en 
Valey has the privilege of making it over-ride Good Friday, 
when it occurs on that day ; and that on that day there are 
great indulgences as a jubilee in that church. The Council 
of Constantinople, in " Trullo," already mentioned, ordered 
that the mass of the pre-sanctified should be said on all days 
in Lent except the Sabbath, the Lord's day, and the Feast 
of the Annunciation. Pope Urban II., in a council held at 
Clermont, in 1095, ordered that every day the church bell 
should be rung, morning, noon, and evening, and that each 
time it was rung the faithful should recite the Angelic Salu- 

lttiah ix. 6. 

* , 

452 Lives of the Saints. [March 9 j. 

tation. This is called the Angelus. The object of the 
Holy Father was to stir up the faithful to thank God for the 
benefit of the Incarnation. Popes John XXII., Calixtus 
III., Paul III., Alexander VII., and Clement X., have re- 
commended this practice and attached indulgences to it 
These were confirmed by Benedict XIII. 

The Greeks observe the same day as the Latins. In the 
Menologium of the emperor Basil the younger, it is thus 
described: "On the 25th day of March, the Annunciation 
of the most holy Mother of God. Our God, most loving 
and merciful to human salvation, who ever careth for the 
sons of men, when He beheld man, the work of His hands, 
brought under the bondage of Satan, willed to send His 
only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord, into the world, 
to pluck man out of the power of the devil. But willing 
not that Satan, nay, nor the celestial powers should know 
thereof, he committed this secret to one of the archangels, 
Gabriel the Glorious. And having made by His providence 
that a Virgin pure and immaculate should be born meet for 
so high an honour, to her was Gabriel sent, and he came to 
the city called Nazareth, and said to her, 'Hail, Full of 
Grace, the Lord is with thee ! ' But she asked, ' How shall 
these things be ?' To whom he made reply, ' The Holy 
Ghost shall descend on thee, and the power of the Most 
High shall overshadow thee.' And she said, ' Behold the 
handmaid of the Lord, be it unto me according to thy 
word.' And having thus spoken, she conceived above 
nature a son, the Word of God ; and thereafter were ful- 
filled all the mysteries of the Word of God incarnate per- 
taining to our salvation." 

In the Greek Mensea also, it is said, "March 25th, the 
commemoration of the Annunciation of the most holy 
Mother of God, our Lady, when the arch-warrior, Gabriel, 
captain of the celestial armies, being instructed in the secret 

* * 

* * 

March 25.] The Annunciation of S. Mary. 453 

from eternity and unknown to angels, the mystery hidden 
of the divine incarnation of the Son of God, was sent to 
the most pure Mary, unstained with any spot of sin, 
in the city of Nazareth, that he might declare to her the 
will of God the Father, and the favour and efficacious 
help of the life-giving Spirit for the salvation of man. 
And he said to her, ' Hail, Full of Grace, the Lord is 
with thee.' " 

This is the exordium of a Greek hymn on the Annuncia- 
tion, by S. Joseph, the hymnographer : " When Gabriel, 
the great archangel, saw thee, O pure one 1 the living book 
of Christ, sealed with the Holy Ghost, he cried to thee, 
' Rejoice, oh house of joy ! through whom is abolished the 
malediction pronounced on our first parents.' " 

The ancient Arabian-Egyptian church also observed this 
festival. In an Arabic martyrology, the entry on March 
25th is as follows, "The memorial of the Annunciation of 
the Mother of God, and the Incarnation of the Son of God, 
this day the firstfruits of our salvation and the manifestation 
of a mystery kept hidden from all ages. The Son of God 
issued forth Son of the Virgin, and Gabriel announced the 
favour. And now we with him exclaim, ' Rejoice, O Full 
of Grace, the Lord is with thee !* " The same festival is 
observed by the Copts, and found in the Syriac and Chaldee, 
and Russian Kalendars. 

In the sacramentary of S. Gregory the Great, the proper 
preface for this day runs thus: ". . . through Christ 
our Lord, whom Gabriel, the archangel, announced was to 
be born for man's salvation, the Virgin Mary, by the co- 
operation of the Holy Ghost, conceived ; that what angelic 
sublimity announced, virginal purity might believe, and 
ineffable Deity might perform. And thus we hope, by Thy 
assistance, to behold His face without confusion, in the 
solemnity of whose Incarnation we now rejoice." 


* * 

454 Lives of the Saints. [March s . 

In the Church of Milan, according to the Ambrosian rite, 
" throughout the whole of Lent, no festival of any saint is 
observed, and the office for the Annunciation of S. Mary is 
celebrated on the last Sunday in Advent." 


In the Martyrology attributed to S. Jerome, in those of 
Ado, Notker, Rabanus Maurus, and many others, on this 
day is marked, " In Jerusalem, our Lord Jesus Christ was 
crucified," or words to this effect This being by many sup- 
posed to be the day of the month on which Christ died. 
In an ancient Roman Martyrology, published by Roswey- 
dus, on March 25 th is inserted, "Annuntiatio Dominica et 
Crucifixio." Some ancient lines on this day, which occur 
in some Martyrologies, deserve quotation : " In hac die 
multa, mirabilia facta sunt, quae notantur in his versi- 

" Salve festa dies, quae vulnera nostra coerces ; 
Angelus est missus, est Christus in cruce passus. 
Est Adam factus, et eodem tempore lapsus. 
Ob meritum decimae cadit Abel fratris ab ense, 
Offert Melchisedech, Isaac supponitur aris, 
Est decollatus Christi Baptista Joannes. 
Est Petrus ereptus, Jacobus sub Herode peremptus. 
Corpora Sanctorum cum Christe multa resurgunt. 
Latro dulce tamen per Christum sucipit Amen." 

Molanus, in his additions to Usuardus, adds to the two 
mysteries of the Annunciation and the Crucifixion, "On the 
same day the genesis of the world; also the victory of 
Michael, the archangel, over the dragon." This victory is 
commemorated on this day in many old martyrologies. An 
old Brussels MS. Martyrology adds, " On the same day the 
formation of Adam and his ejection from Paradise." Many 

* * 

After a Painting in the Museum at Madrid (?) 

March, p. 454.] 

[March 25. 

*& __m 

March 2 S .] Memorial of the Crucifixion. 455 

insert the death of Abel ; in that of Canisius, " Abel the 
just, the proto-martyr of the Old Testament, at once 
virgin, priest, and martyr, and the first of mankind to 
die." Also the sacrifice of Melchisedek, and the sacri- 
fice of Isaac, are inserted on this day in many martyro- 
logies. In some likewise, "On this day Israel crossed 
the Red Sea"; in some, "S. Veronica, who wiped the 
face of Christ"; in some also the decollation of S. John 
the Baptist, the passion of S. James, and the liberation of 
S. Peter. 

But in the Greek Mensea, March 23rd is marked as that 
of the " Crucifixion and memorial of the Penitent Thief" : 
on March 22nd is commemorated the Last Supper; on 
March 24th the Repose in the Tomb ; and on March 25th, 
the Resurrection. 


[Modern Roman Martyrology.] 

The modern Roman Martyrology has on this day: "In 
Jerusalem the commemoration of the Blessed Thief, who 
confessed Christ on the Cross, and merited to hear from 
him : This day shalt thou be with Me in Paradise." 
Baronius, in his notes to the Martyrology, adds that 
the thief is traditionally called Dimas, under which name 
chapels have been dedicated to him, but that as this 
name is derived from apocryphal sources, it is not 
sanctioned by the Roman Martyrology. Masinus asserts 
that the body of S. Dimas, the Penitent Thief, is pre- 
served in the church of SS. Vitalis and Agricola at 

* * 

* * 

456 Lives of the Saints. [March as . 

(a.d. 269.) 

[Roman Martyrology. Another S. Quirinus on March 30th, and another 
on June 4th. The Quirinus on this day, March 25th, is mentioned in the 
Acts of SS. Maris, Martha, Andifax, and Habakkuk (Jan. 19th), which are 
genuine. All other accounts of Quirinus are fabulous.] 

Quirinus is said, but the statement is palpably false, 
to have been the son of the emperor Philip, and to have 
been converted by his Christian mother, Severa. Putting 
this idle fable aside, we know of Quirinus only that he 
was executed with the sword in prison in 269, and the 
body was thrown into the Tiber, but was recovered by a 
priest named Pastor, who buried it in the Pontiani ceme- 
tery, whence it was removed in the pontificate of pope 
S. Zacharias (March 15th), and it found a shrine and 
resting-place eventually in the monastery of Tengern-see, 
in Bavaria. A spring of naphtha rising there goes by the 
name of Quirinus-oil. 

The S. Quirinus of Rome commemorated on March 
30th, according to the Roman Martyrology, is supposed 
to have been a military tribune, chiefly from the fact that 
he has been represented in armour seated on horseback. 
He is the patron Saint of Cologne, Correggio, and Neuss. 
This S. Quirinus is often represented with a falcon, which 
circumstance has been said to indicate his high birth, and 
has also led to his being reputed to have been of the 
Imperial family, and so being identified with the S. Quirinus 
commemorated on March 25th. The real reason for the 
falcon's presence seems, however, to lie in the story related 
of his martyrdom (see page 504). 

* * 

After a Picture by Roger Van der Weyden, in the Museum at Madrid, 

March, p. 456.] 

[March 35. 


March^s-i 5". Irenceus. 457 

(a.d. 304.) 

[By the Greeks on Aug. 25th ; by the Latins on this day, or March 6th 
or 25th. Authorities : The authentic Acts of his martyrdom.] 

S. Irenceus, bishop of Sirmich or Mitrovitz on the Save, 
in Pannonia, the modern Hungary, died on March 25th, 
in the year 304. He was arrested by order of Probus, the 
governor of Pannonia, and was led before his tribunal. 
All his family were present. His mother, wife, and chil- 
dren surrounded him, and some of the younger children 
clung to his knees and implored him not to leave them. 
His wife cast her arms round his neck and burst into 
tears on his breast, and conjured him to submit to the 
imperial edict so as to preserve himself for her and his 
innocent children. The governor joined in this attempt 
to shake his constancy. But S. Irengeus said, "Our Lord 
Jesus Christ hath declared that the man who loveth father 
or mother, wife or children, more than Him, is not worthy 
of Him, so that I forget I am a father, a husband, and 
a son." 

Irenaeus was then ordered to have his head struck off 
and his body cast into the river Save. 

S. DULA, V. M. 
(date unknown.) 

[Roman and most ancient Western Martyrology.] 

Nothing is known of this saint, except that she was a 
servant or slave-girl as indeed her name implies to a 

* * 

* * 

45 8 Lives of the Saints. [March %%. 

soldier at Nicomedia, and that she steadfastly resisted his 
importunities, till, exasperated at her opposition to his 
passion, he killed her, in an explosion of anger. Her real 
name is unknown ; the name Dula is simply the Greek 
word for servant-maid. 

(a.d. 653.) 

[Irish Martyrologies. Authority : Scattered notices in lives of other 
Irish saints collected by Colgan.] 

S. Camin was of the princely house of Hy-kinselogh by 
his father Dima, a half-brother of Guair, king of Connaught, 
by his mother Cumania. Little else is recorded of him, 
until he retired to the island of Iniskeltra, in Lough Derg, 
where he led a very austere and solitary life, but after some 
time was obliged to erect a monastery to accommodate the 
numbers of disciples who resorted to him. Although of a 
delicate constitution, he closely applied himself to ecclesi- 
astical studies, and wrote a commentary on the Psalms, 
collated with the Hebrew text. 

(about a.d. 680.) 

[Belgian, French, and German Martyrologies. Authority : A life of 
S. Humbert by a monk of Marolles, in the 13th cent., based apparently 
on older documents.] 

This saint was born at Maizieres, on the river Oise, in 
the province anciently called Upper Picardy ; his parents 
were noble, and the virtue of his father Everard obtained 
for him, after his death, the title of Benedictus, or the 
Blessed. The child from infancy showed the utmost 

* * 

* _ X 

March i.] S. Humbert. 459 

delight in the practice of religion, and his parents took him 
to a monastery in Laon, where he received the clerical 
tonsure. He was educated and ordained priest in the 
monastery, and remained in it till the death of his parents, 
when he was obliged to leave it that he might take posses- 
sion and dispose of his inheritance, which was considerable. 
He left the city of Laon with the blessing of the bishop, 
and the sanction of his superiors, and returned to Maizieres, 
where he lived in great retirement. After a while he 
received S. Amandus, who had just laid aside his bishopric 
of Maestricht, and was on his way to Rome with S. Nicasius, 
monk of Elno. He accompanied them to Italy. One 
night as they were camping on their journey a bear attacked 
their sumpter horse, and killed it When Humbert went in 
quest of the horse next morning to lay on it the baggage, he 
found it lying dead on the grass, and the bear mangling it 
Humbert at once ordered the wild beast to come to him, 
and when it obeyed he laid on it the pack-saddle and the 
baggage, and made the bear carry for them all they needed 
till they reached the gates of Rome, when he dismissed 
Bruin, who retired, looking every now and then behind him, 
as if expecting a recall. 

He afterwards made a second pilgrimage to Rome, and 
on his return from it, he went to visit S. Amandus in his 
monastery of Elno, on the Scarpe; and after having de- 
liberated with him on a suitable place for a retreat, he 
retired into the monastery of Marolles, or Maroilles, in 
Hainault, on the little river Hespres, which flows into the 
Sambre. This house had been built shortly before by 
count Rodobert, or Chonebert, in his territory of Famart. 
Humbert having resolved to spend the rest of his days 
there, gave to the new monastery all his lands at Maizieres, 
in 671. It was then a poor little cell lost in a forest but 
this donation made it. very wealthy. A story is told of 

,3, . * 

* * 

460 Lives of the Saints. [March $. 

Humbert at Marolles which resembles many recorded in 
the lives of other saints, and which shows that the old 
hermits and monks were the protectors of wild animals. 

One day as Humbert was busy tearing up the bram- 
bles and thistles which covered the land which he was 
desirous of reclaiming, and had cast off his cloak on account 
of the heat, the horns of the hunters proclaimed that a large 
party was engaged in the chase near the monastery, and 
shortly after he saw a frightened beast which the dogs 
pursued dart over the open ground and fall panting and 
wearied out on his cloak. The dogs surrounded the mantle, 
yelping, but did not venture to fall on the wild creature, 
and the arrows of the hunters fell short of the mark. Seeing 
this remarkable interposition in behalf of the poor animal, 
the sportsmen withdrew, highly extolling the virtue of the 
holy man who by his mantle could protect a beast from 

Humbert seldom left his monastery, except to meet 
S. Aldegunda, abbess of Maubeuge, with whom he had 
contracted an intimate union of charity and prayers. He 
is sometimes called abbot or superior of Marolles; at all 
events he had disciples, in whose arms he died, about the 
year 680, on March 25 th. 

In art he is represented with a bear by his side, and a 
cross marked on his shaven crown, which, according to the 
legend, was miraculously impressed. 

(a.d. 1075.) 

[Mayhew in Trophaea Cong. Angl. O.S.B. ; Gabriel Bucelinus in his 
Menologium Benedictinum. Hieron. Porter in his Flores Vitarum Sanct. 
Angliae. Authorities : William of Main: ^Dury, and Henry Knyghton.] 

In the reign of the Confess^., Alfwold, a monk of Win- 
chester was raised to the bishopric of Sherborne. At that 

4 * 



March aj] S. William, Child M. 46 1 

time the English people were greatly addicted to the 
pleasures of the table, and it was expected of the bishops 
to keep open house and have their tables well provided with 
abundant and delicate fare. But Alfwold, though ready to 
show all hospitality, lived plainly himself, drinking water 
out of a common bowl, and eating out of a wooden platter. 
He had S. Cuthbert's life and example ever before his eyes, 
and repeated to himself constantly the antiphon for his 
festival, " The blessed bishop Cuthbert, a man perfect in all 
things, in the midst of a crowd remained a monk, and to all 
was venerable." He visited Durham, and opening the 
shrine of S. Cuthbert addressed him lovingly as a friend, 
and deposited by his side a token of his regard. 

(a.d. 1 144.) 

[Anglican Martyrologies. But the day of his invention, April 15th, was 
observed as his festival at Norwich. Authority : An account of his mar- 
tyrdom in Capgrave.] 

According to the legend related by Capgrave, there lived 
in Norwich in the 12th century a couple named Wenstan 
and Elwina, of the peasant class, who became parents of a 
boy, named William. One day Wenstan went to a feast 
and took his little son with him. During the meal a beggar 
came in with irons on his hands, worn as an act of penance; 
the child put out his hands to touch the chains and mana- 
cles, and instantly they broke and fell at the feet of the 
mendicant At the age of seven the boy was so filled with 
the ardour of self-mortification, that he fasted three days in 
the week, and was constantly in the church singing psalms 
and reciting prayers. 

On the Passover in 1144, some Jews of Norwich took the 
child, and having strangled him, crucified him, and then took 

Ijl g 

462 Lives of the Saints. [March B j. 

the body in a sack out of the town, to bury it in a wood. 
But a certain Aelward saw them entering the wood, and 
followed them. Then, in alarm, the Jews ran away, and 
considering that their only chance of safety lay in bribing 
the viscount, who was chief magistrate of the town, they 
offered him a hundred marks of silver if he would hush the 
matter up. The viscount took the money, sent for Aelward, 
and threatened and persuaded him to hold his tongue about 
what he had seen. Aelward kept the secret for five years, 
till he was on the point of death, when the martyred boy 
appeared to him, and bade him disclose what he had wit- 
nessed. Now at the same time, early in the morning, a nun 
was walking in the wood, when she came suddenly on a 
child's body lying at the foot of an oak tree, with two ravens 
fluttering over it, and the woman was so frightened that she 
ran into Norwich and told what she had seen. Then a 
crowd of people went forth and took up the body, which 
though it had lain five years unburied in the wood, was 
incorrupt, and brought it into Norwich ; at the same time 
Aelward made his confession, and thus the whole of the 
circumstances were made clear; the people readily con- 
cluding that this newly found body was the same that had 
been left by the Jews, according to Aelward's account, 
unburied in the wood, five years before. The body was 
buried, and a rose bush was planted at the head, about the 
festival of S. Michael, (Sept. 29th), and it at once put forth 
fresh leaves and flowers, and bloomed till the faast of 
S. Edmund, (Nov. 20th). Many miracles were performed 
at the grave. It does not appear that this discovery was 
followed by a massacre of the Jews. 

Throughout the Middle Ages three accusations were 
constantly brought against the Jews by the populace; all 
three were denounced by the authorities of the time as 
imaginary. They were accused of killing children. A law 

ift -* 



March a.i .S". William, Child M. 463 

of the duke of Poland, in 1264, renewed in 1343, rebuked 
those who made this charge, and required that it should be 
substantiated by the testimony of three Jews. They were 
accused of poisoning the wells. Pope Innocent IV. in a 
bull denounced this charge, and in 1349, the king of the 
Romans ordered that the Jews in Luxemburg should be 
protected against the insolence of the people, because, said 
he, the pope and he regarded them as innocent of the many 
crimes attributed to them. Lastly, they were accused of 
sacrilege. The Abbd Fleury, in his Ecclesiastical History 
gives one instance of the manner in which this charge was 
made, " In a little town called Pulca, in the diocese of 
Passau, a layman found a bloody Host before the house of 
a Jew, lying in the street upon some straw. The people 
thought that this Host was consecrated, and washed it and 
took it to the priest, that it might be taken to the church, 
where a crowd full of devotion assembled, supposing that 
the blood had flowed miraculously from wounds dealt it by 
the Jews. On this suspicion, and without any other exami- 
nation, or any other judicial procedure, the Christians fell 
on the Jews, and killed several of them ; but wiser heads 
judged that this was rather for the sake of pillaging their 
goods than avenging the pretended sacrilege. This con- 
jecture was fortified by a similar accident which took place 
a little while before at Neuburg, in the same diocese of 
Passau, where a certain clerk placed an unconsecrated 
Host steeped in blood in the church, but confessed after- 
wards in the presence of the bishop Bernhard and other 
persons deserving of credit, that he had dipped these Hosts 
in blood for the purpose of rousing hostility against the 
Jews." 1 

If, however, we consider the intolerable treatment of 
the Jews throughout the Middle Ages, it makes it barely 

1 Hit. Eccles. vi. p. no. 
* * 


464 Lives of the Saints. [March 25. 

conceivable that their pent-up wrongs should have exasper- 
ated them into committing acts of vengeance, when they 
had the opportunity. Through centuries they were ground 
under an intolerable yoke. They could call nothing really 
their own, not even their persons. They were obliged to 
wear a distinctive mark, like outlaws and harlots ; if they 
emigrated, their feudal lords were under mutual agreement 
to seize them in foreign lands; their children were stolen 
from them to be baptized ; if their wives wished to abjure, 
they were divorced; they were taxed on going in and 
coming out of and sojourning in any city ; on the smallest 
pretext, their debtors refused to pay their debts. At 
Toulouse on every Good Friday a Jew was brought upon 
the cathedral stairs to have his ears publicly boxed ; their lives 
were at the mercy of every one. The magistrates burnt 
them, the people massacred them, the kings hunted them 
down to despoil them of all, when their exchequer was low. 
All these insults, outrages and injustices must have created 
an intense hatred of Christianity, and every thing and 
person that was Christian, and may well have found vent 
occasionally in some savage murder in parody of the Cruci- 
fixion, or sacrilegious outrage on the Blessed Sacrament, 
which the Jews knew full well was the great object of 
Christian love and devotion. They would not have been 
human had it not been so, and though the stories of 
murders and sacrileges told against them were undoubtedly 
false, these stories were the fruit of prejudice and desire of 
rapine. It is impossible to doubt that most of these charges 
brought against them were invented by their enemies for 
the purpose of plundering them; and that others had 
their origin in the imagination of the people, ready to 
believe anything against those whose strong-boxes they 
lusted to break open. 

The first mention of the crucifixion of a boy by the Jews 




March i S .] S. William, Child M. 465 

is in Socrates, (Hist. Eccl. lib. vii. c. 16.) He says that 
about a.d. 414, at a place called Immestar, between 
Antioch in Syria and Chalcis, "the Jews, while amusing 
themselves in their usual way with a variety of sports, im- 
pelled by drunkenness, were guilty of many absurdities. 
At last they began to scoff at Christians, and even at Christ 
himself; and in derision of the cross and those who put 
their trust in the Crucified, they seized a Christian boy, and 
having bound him to a cross, began to laugh and sneer 
at him. But in a little while they became so transported 
with fury that they scourged the child until he died 
under their hands." The emperors being informed of 
this ordered the delinquents to be punished with the 
utmost severity. 

The Jews in England were accused of having crucified a 
child in 1160, a boy, Robert, at Bury S. Edmunds, in 1181, 
at whose tomb miracles were also wrought. Another boy, 
Hugh, is said to have met with the same fate at Lincoln, in 
1255, the place of whose image and shrine is still shown in 
the cathedral of that city. Matthew Paris, in his English 
history, under the date 1239, says, "In this year, on the 
feast of S. Alban, and on the following day, a great 
massacre and destruction of the Jews took place by order 
ofGeoffrythe Templar, a particular councillor of the king, 
who oppressed, imprisoned, and extorted money from them. 
At length, after great suffering, these wretched Jews, in 
order to enjoy life and tranquillity^ paid the king a third 
part of all their money debts, as well as chattels. The 
original cause of this calamity was the perpetration of a 
clandestine murder committed by the Jews in the city; and 
not long after this, owing to a boy having been circumcised 
by the Jews at Norwich, four of the richest of that com- 
munity, having been clearly convicted of that offence, were 

vol. iil 3 
* -* 

* _,J, 

466 Lives of the Saints. [March 9 j. 

And again, under 1240, "About this time the Jews 
circumcised a Christian boy at Norwich ; they then kept 
him to crucify him. The father of the boy, however, from 
whom the Jews had stolen him, after a diligent search, at 
length discovered him, and with a loud cry pointed out his 
son, shut up in a room in one of the Jew's houses. When 
this came to the knowledge of William de Rele, the bishop, 
a wise and circumspect prelate (!) and of some other 
nobles, that such an insult to Christ might not be passed 
over unpunished, all the Jews in the city were made 
prisoners, and when they wished to place themselves under 
the royal protection, the bishop said, 'These matters 
belong to the Church, they are not to be decided by the 
king's court.' Four of the Jews, having been found guilty, 
were dragged at the tails of horses, and afterwards hung on 
a gibbet" 

Six boys are reported to have been martyred by the Jews 
at Ratisbon, in 1586; another, named Johannet, at Sieges- 
burg, another at Bacharach, another, S. Richard, at Paris, in 
1 182, Simon of Trent has already been spoken of (March 
24th), and Raderus in his Bavaria Sancta mentions another, 
George, at Sappendalf, in 1540. There was another S. 
Richard, child-martyr at Pontoise ; and the last we hear of 
was in 1650, in Bohemia. 1 

1 See for fuller particulars, and more instances, the Lives of S. Werner, April 
19th, S. Albert, April 20th, and S. Ludwig, April 30th. 

* , 

*f . $ 

March a6.] S. CdStulllS. 467 

March 26. 

S. Castuliis, M. at Rome, circ. a.d. 286. 

SS. Montanus and Maxima, MM. at Sermium. 

SS. Bathus, P.M., Verca and Children, MM. among the Goths, tire. 

a.d. 370. 
S. Eutychius, Subd, M. at Alexandria, a.d. 356. 
S. Felix, B. of Treves, circ. a.d. 436. 
S. Braulio, B. of Saragotia, a.d. 646, 
S. Mochelloc, Ab, in Ireland, bet-ween a.d. 639 656. 
S. Ludger, B. of Munster, Ap. of Westphalia, a.d. 809. 
S. Basil the Less, //. at Constantinople, circ, a.d. 952. 


(ABOUT A.D. 286.) 

[Roman and almost all Latin Martyrologies. In the Archdiocese of 
Prague the feast of this saint is kept as a double ; so also in the dioceses of 
Ratisbon, Frisingen, and Passau. By the Greeks on Dec. 18th. Authori- 
ties : The Acts, and another account of his passion in the Acts of S. 
Sebastian. J 

[AINT CASTULUS, chamberlain of the palace 
to Diocletian, was wont to receive Christians 
into his house, and screen them from the pursuit 
of the magistrates. He was denounced to 
Fabian, the prefect of the city, who, after having tortured 
him in many ways, had him cast into a pit and buried in 
sand. He was betrayed by a renegade Christian named 
Torquatus, the same whom Cardinal Wiseman has intro- 
duced into his historical sketch of " Fabiola." 



[Roman Martyrology, and those of Bede and S. Jerome. Authority 
The notices in the Martyrologies.] 

S. Montanus was a priest at Sirmium, in Pannonia, and 


468 Lives of the Saints. [March 6. 

Maxima was his wife. They were drowned for the faith 
either in a river or in a lake ; probably during the perse- 
cution of Maximian. . 

(about a.d. 370.) 

[Greek Menasa and Menology of the Emp. Basil the Younger.] 

Bathus, a Gothic priest, his wife Verca, their two sons 
and two daughters, and some others were burned in the 
church by the Gothic Jungeric. Gaatha, a Gothic queen, 
collected their relics, and conveyed them into Roumania ; 
but on her return she was stoned to death. 

(a.d. 646.) 

[Roman Martyrology. Saragossa Martyrology on March 18th, Au- 
thority : The letters of his great friend S. Isidore.] 

S. Braulio is traditionally said to have been divinely 
designated for the episcopate, when the clergy and people 
were assembled to elect to the vacant see of Saragossa, by 
the appearance of a tongue of flame on his head. He was 
an intimate friend of S. Isidore, bishop of Hispalis, or 
Seville, and he has been by some writers erroneously called 
the brother of Isidore and Leander. S. Braulio sat in the 
5th and 6th Councils of Toledo. After having held the 
bishopric twenty years he died. The day of his death was 
spent in incessant psalmody. A pleasing modern legend, 
which the Bollandists have shown to be without ancient 
authority, tells that he heard angelic voices chant in choir, 
' ' Arise, my friend, and come away," to which he replied, 
" Behold, here am I." 

*)- % 

* * 

March 6.] S. Ludger, B. of Munster. 469 

(a.d. 809.) 

[Roman Martyrology, Molanus and Greven in their additions to 
Usuardus. The Treves Martyrology, those of Utrecht and S. Gudule at 
Brussels, the Benedictine Martyrology, and many others. Authorities : 
His life by Altfrid, B. of Mtinster, his disciple, derived from personal 
knowledge, or from information furnished by the saint's brother Hilde- 
grim, or by his nephew, Gerfried, or by his sister, Heriburgh. There are 
other lives of him in prose, and three styled litanies, written in rhyme. 
One of the former is by an anonymous Frieslander, a contemporary ; 
another by the monks ol Werden, composed about 890. Our saint's name 
appears in three forms : viz., Ludger, Liudger, and Luidger. He is 
commonly called Ludger, a spelling he himself adopts in his life of Gregory, 
abbot of Utrecht. He is styled Liudger both in Altfrid's life of him, and 
in the verses sent to him from York by a disciple of Alcuin. 

The abbey of Utrecht, under the presidency of the 
devoted Gregory, had sent forth many noble labourers 
into the mission-field, and many more had come over 
from England to take their share in the good work, and to 
spread the knowledge of the truth. One of the most 
eminent of these was Ludger, the subject of this memoir. 
His grandfather Wrffing Ado, a noble Frieslander, though 
not a believer in the Trinity, was yet a help to the poor, a 
defence to the oppressed, and a just judge, respecting the 
person of no man. Radbod, king of Friesland, who had 
cruelly oppressed his people, banished his best nobles, and 
sold their estates, laid a plot against his life. Wrffing 
received timely warning of it from one of the king's council, 
and fled with his wife and son to Grimoald, " Uuke of the 
Franks," who received him well. There he was converted 
to the Catholic faith; he and all his were baptized. 
Grimoald was the son-in-law of Radbod, and son of Pepin of 
Heristal. While the latter was lying on his deathbed, 
Grimoald went to see him, and was assassinated by a 
Frieslander, in the church of S. Lambert, in 714. Wrffing 

% -* 


470 Lives of tJie Saints. [March *6 

received the same kindness from his successors. Radbod 
entreated Wrffing to return ; when he refused to do so, Rad- 
bod asked him to let nis son come back, promising to rein- 
state him in his inheritance. Accordingly the younger son 
Thiadgrim was sent to Friesland ; the king insisted on his 
living with him, and restored his father's lands to him. 

When Charles Martel added Friesland to his Frankish 
dominions, " extincto Radbodo," he not only reinstated 
Wrffing in his former possessions, but also gave him land 
in the neighbourhood of Utrecht to hold in feoff for S. 
Willibrord, who was then labouring among the Frisians, and 
had fixed his see at Utrecht. Willibrord received all support 
and countenance from Wrffing and his family. Both he and 
his successor, S. Boniface, were on very friendly terms with 
them. Perhaps it was at his grandfather's house that S. 
Ludger first saw S. Boniface. 

Thiadgrim, the younger son, married Liafburg, the 
daughter of Nothrad and Aldeburga. The latter gave her 
two brothers to S. Willibrord, to educate, and they first of 
all the Frisians received the clerical tonsure. Willibraht, 
the elder brother, died a deacon, the younger, before he 
reached that degree. 

Liafburg, S. Ludger's mother, narrowly escaped being 
murdered at the time of her birth. Her grandmother by 
the father's side, a fierce old pagan, was enraged because 
her daughter-in-law had borne no sons but only daughters. 
She sent officers to snatch the new born babe from its 
mother, before it had sucked the breast, for it was the 
custom of these heathen to kill a child before it had tasted 
earthly food. This statement is corroborated by some old 
Frisian laws edited by Sibrand Siccaum. 

The officers consigned the child to a servant to be 
drowned. As the man held the infant over a bucket of 
water, she stretched out her tiny arms and grasped with her 


* * 

March 36.] .S. Ludger, B. of Munster. 471 

hands the edge of the bucket, and with all her feeble might 
resisted his efforts to drown her. A woman, who chanced 
to be near, touched with pity, snatched the infant from the 
servant's hands, and ran away with it to her own home; 
fastening the door behind her, she hastened to a chamber 
and placed some honey in the child's mouth, which it 
instantly swallowed. The officers were sent by the heathen 
beldame to demand the infant : the woman said, " She has 
eaten honey," and at the same time she held up to them the 
child, still licking its lips : for this reason it was unlawful 
to kill the child. 

The woman gave Liafburg suck from a horn filled with 
milk, and receiving all necessaries from the child's mother, 
she nursed her till the death of her unnatural grandmother, 
when Liafburg was received into her father's house. 

Liafburg many years after, when pregnant with Ludger, 
heard suddenly of the return of her husband Thiadgrim 
from a long journey. She ran out to greet him, and her 
foot slipping, she fell on a stake, which entered her side. 
She was taken up for dead ; but by God's mercy she 
revived, and in a few days gave birth to Ludger unhurt. 
This event took place probably about 744. At his baptism, 
which is erroneously said by one chronicler to have been 
performed by S. Willibrord, who was then dead, he received 
the name of Ludger. As soon as he was able to run about, 
he used to collect the bark of trees, and to sew them into 
books, while the other children were at play. Then he 
scribbled on them with reeds dipped in a black liquor 
and gave them to his nurse to keep as useful books. If 
asked, "What hast thou done to-day ?" he said, "I have 
made books, or I have written or read all day." If 
asked again, " Who taught thee ?" he replied, " God taught 

Then, as he grew in grace and years, he earnestly be- 

^ * 

& , _ . * 

472 Lives of the Saints. [March 26. 

sought his parents to entrust him to some man of God to be 
brought up. They accordingly, probably in 757, gave him 
to abbot Gregory, a noble Frank, and a disciple of the 
great S. Boniface, who had a monastery at Utrecht. Either 
here, or before this, Ludger, as he tells us in his life of 
S. Gregory, " saw with his own eyes S. Boniface when his 
head was white with hoar hairs, and his body decrepit with 
age." Gregory, he adds, was his preceptor, " ab infantia," 
he brought up his disciples with as much love, zeal, and 
care, as if he was their father, and they his children ; they 
were joined to him by a tie of strong affection. He pro- 
claimed both in deed and in truth, as well as in word the 
Apostolic utterance of S. Peter, concerning the calling and 
election of all nations, "In every nation he that feareth 
God and worketh righteousness is accepted with him." Acts 
x. 35. For his disciples were gathered not from one tribe 
only, but were the flower of all the neighbouring nations ; 
they were enlightened with wondrous gentleness and spirit- 
ual joy, and joined into one body, because they were 
begotten in charity of one spiritual father, and of the one 
mother of all. " Some were of noble Frank families ; some 
were English ; some of the new planting of God begun 
amongst the Frisians and Saxons ; some of the Baquarii and 
the Suevi ; some of whatever nation God hath sent thither : 
of all these I, Ludger am the least, yea, the weakest and 
most insignificant." 

" The holy father Gregory bestowed on all these gathered 
from all parts into one fold the spiritual food of God's 
doctrine and Word. Inspired by God he burned with love 
for his disciples and for their instruction, so that scarce a 
day passed on which he did not sit in the morning to receive 
his disciples singly, and to hear their questions, and then 
he gave them to drink of the cup of life, and watered them 
with God's Word as each had need." 

* * 

March 2 6.] S. Ludger, B. of Munster. 473 

Altfrid tells us that Gregory received Ludger with joy, and 
found great pleasure in instructing him, as he was an intelli- 
gent and sagacious child. Under his loving care Ludger 
advanced in the fear of the Lord, and laid aside his secular 
habit in that monastery; perhaps in 760, and devoted him- 
self wholly to the study of the spiritual science. Some of his 
schoolfellows became bishops or teachers of Churches. 
Ludger was much loved by them, by reason of his won- 
drous gentleness and kindness : his face was cheerful, 
though he was not easily provoked to laughter; he com- 
bined prudence with moderation in all his actions, for he 
constantly meditated on Holy Scripture, and especially upon 
those portions of it which pertained to the praise of God, 
and to the Catholic faith, for all which reasons he was loved 
by his venerable master as an only son. 

Alubert came to Utrecht in 766, or 767, being sent by 
the bishop of York to preach the Gospel in Frisia. Gregory 
besought him to be made a bishop. He consented after 
some reluctance, provided Gregory would despatch him to 
England with some native clergy. Accordingly he received 
as companions Sigibod and Ludger. Sigibod was ordained 
priest, Ludger deacon, and Alubert bishop at York, pro- 
bably by Elbert, who succeeded Egbert in that see on his 
death in 766. Elbert on his accession had ordained 
Alcuin, who was his favourite pupil, deacon, and made him 
master of the cathedral seminary. His fame as a teacher 
spread far and wide; and students from all parts eagerly 
sought in York that instruction which no other master could 
supply. Ludger assiduously drank of the stream of know- 
ledge which flowed from his lips, and it was with reluctance 
that he accompanied his friends at the end of a year to 
Utrecht, which they reached in 768. 

His first act was to petition Gregory for leave to return 
to Alcuin, and sate himself " with the honey which he had 


474 Lives of the Saints. [March .6. 

tasted." Gregory gently but firmly refused his request : 
finding that in spite of all persuasion he cherished the 
determination of journeying to York, he sent for his father 
to induce him to desist from his purpose. But the studious 
Ludger remained firm, and at last vanquished all opposition 
by entreaty. He was accordingly furnished with all neces- 
saries for his journey. 

He stayed three years and a half at York, under Alcuin, 
where he was beloved by all for his good character and holy 

At this time, when the citizens of York were going forth 
to battle against their enemies, the son of an earl of that 
province was killed in a quarrel by a Frisian merchant. All 
Frisians deemed it prudent to quit England for fear of the 
wrath of his relatives. Alcuin sent his deacon Patal with 
Ludger, lest his love of learning should induce him to go to 
some other town of those parts, and he should there fall a 
victim to the vengeance of the young earl's friends. He 
returned home, in 774, with a large stock of learning and 
books, and was received warmly by Gregory. 

About or before this time, Liafwin or Lebuin, a learned 
priest, was sent from England to Utrecht. He desired to 
preach the gospel to the people who dwelt by the river 
Yssel. The faithful of those parts first built him a church 
at Wulfre, on the west side of that river. Afterwards one 
was erected at Deventer, on the east side. He gained so 
many converts there that the Saxons made a furious attack 
on the place, drove out the Christians, and burned the 
church. When the enemy had retired, he returned, and re- 
built the church, and laboured there peacefully and success- 
fully till his death, when he was buried in the church. Then 
the Saxons again sacked and burned the church, after mak- 
ing an ineffectual search for his body. 

Albric succeeded his uncle Gregory, who had died about 

* * 

* , 

March 16.] S. Ludger, B. of Munster. 475 

this time. Ludger gives a touching account of the old 
man's death. " He had been smitten with paralysis some 
years before : as he grew weaker, he eagerly looked forward 
for his nephew's return from Italy. When Albric arrived, 
he entrusted the monastery to his charge, and prophesied 
his own immediate decease. He bade them carry him to 
the oratory of S. Saviour, and set him in front of the taber- 
nacle ; there he prayed for a time, and then received the 
Lord's Body ; then, with his eyes fixed on the altar, and 
his soul fixed on heaven, he departed to the Lord, whom 
he had served so long in sincerity." His death occurred 
in 776, according to the Bollandists; in 781 according to 
the editors of the Benedictine Acta Sanctorum. 

Albric besought Ludger to assume Liafwin's charge, and 
to rebuild the church over his body. Being unable to dis- 
cover his remains, he laid the foundations of the church 
within the space in which he thought they lay. Liafwin ap- 
peared to him in a vision of the night, telling him that his 
body was buried deep beneath the south wall of the founda- 
tions. The next day it was found in the spot pointed out, 
and the foundations were transferred so as to include the 
saint's tomb within the church. Many miracles were after- 
wards wrought at it. Perhaps the Romanesque crypt of the 
present vast church of S. Lubien at Deventer marks the 
site of this tomb. 

Afterwards Albric sent Ludger and others to destroy the 
heathen temples and places of worship throughout Fries- 
land. They found a vast quantity of treasure in them, of 
which Charlemagne reserved two-thirds, and gave the other 
to Albric for his own uses. 

When Albric, in 778, was consecrated bishop at Cologne, 
he caused Ludger to be raised to the priesthood at the same 
time, and then sent him to be teacher of the Church in the 
canton of Ostracha, where S. Boniface was martyred. It 



476 Lives of the Saints. [March &. 

seems that Ludger elected a church on the site of his mar- 
tyrdom, near Dockum, for Alcuin afterwards sent him some 
Latin heroic verses to be inscribed on it. 

These verses will be found in Migne's edition of Alcuin's 
works. The two first of the fourteen lines run thus : 

" Hie pater egregiis meritis Bonifacius almus, 
Cum sociis pariter fundebat sanguinis undam." 

He also, in turn with Albric and two others, presided 
over the monastery at Utrecht for three months in every 
year. Once, after he had said the night office, and had laid 
himself down to rest, " in solario ecclesise," S. Salvatoris, 
which probably corresponded to our parvise, or prophet's 
chamber, abbot Gregory appeared to him in a vision, and 
bade him follow him. The old man cast down to him from 
a higher place, as it were, pieces of garments and parch- 
ments, which he bade him distribute well. Ludger gathered 
them into three heaps. Marchelm, the custodian of the 
church, in the morning interpreted the dream to mean that 
Ludger would be spiritual ruler over three peoples. Then 
Ludger exclaimed, " Would that the Lord would give me, 
instead, fruit in the place now entrusted to my charge." 

Ludger zealously exercised his office among the Frisians, 
and the seeds of life, sown by him, watered by dew from 
above, bore abundant fruit in the hearts of many. Thus 
did he avenge the death of S. Boniface by bringing to the 
knowledge of the truth those very peoples who had shed 
his blood. Again was verified the old saying, " The blood 
of the martyrs is the seed of the Church," for that land after- 
wards brought forth rich crops of the corn of God's elect. 

When Ludger had toiled there nearly seven years, that 
"root of evil," Wittikind, in 784, leader of the Saxons, 
drove out the servants of God, burned the churches, and 
made the Frisians, as far as the river Fleo, sacrifice again to 
the false gods. So Ludger dismissed his disciples, and tak- 



March 3 6.] 6*. Ltcdger, B. of Munster. 477 

ing with him his brother, Hildegrim, and another, went to 
Rome, where pope Adrian received him kindly, in 785. 
Thence he went on to S. Benedict's monastery at Monte 
Cassino, " for he was anxious to build a monastery on his 
own estate, and this was afterwards done at Werden." 

Though S. Ludgefs name occurs in Benedictine Martyr- 
ologies, he seems never to have become formally a monk of 
that order. Probably he wore their habit at Monte Cassino. 
The author of the Third Metrical Life says, " though he 
wore the cowl." " Nee hujus Regulse, ullum observantiae 
fecerat promissum." The fact that the monasteries 
founded by him both at Werden and Munster observed 
the rule of the Canons Regular, seems to settle the matter. 
He was called abbot simply because he presided over a 
Caenobium. In 787, he passed through Rome on his way 
home, where he obtained some relics of our Lord, of the 
Blessed Virgin, and of some of the saints. The news of 
Wittikind's conversion, or rather submission, had recalled 
him to his old field of labour. 

Charlemagne had been at war with the Saxons, who then 
occupied nearly the modern circles of Westphalia and Lower 
Saxony, with short intervals of peace, for nearly thirty years. 
In 779, he defeated the Westphalians at Bochold, and re- 
ceived their submission, which entailed that of the Ostphali 
and the Angrarii. The following year he overran the coun- 
try as far as the Elbe, where he encamped. Wittikind took 
refuge at the court of the king of Denmark, his father-in- 
law. The solemn sacrament of baptism was administered 
to an immense multitude at Horheim. 

Charlemagne determined to secure the people by a 
systematic occupation of their territory. It was divided 
into districts, whither bishops, priests, and abbots were 
sent. The king gave them the lands, but God alone could 
give them the souls of the people. 


478 Lives of the Saints. [March 96. 

The rebellion which burst out in 782, under Wittikind, 
was punished severely. His accomplices, 4,500 in number, 
were tried before their own chiefs at Verden, on the Aller ; 
were condemned and put to death. Their relatives and all 
the tribes took up arms to avenge them : a bloody battle of 
doubtful issue was fought at Detmold. After Charlemagne 
had ravaged the country for two years, he offered terms of 
peace. Wittikind and the Saxon nobles accepted them. 
He submitted to be baptized at Attigny. His example 
brought about the submission of Saxony and Friesland. 
The story is told somewhat in this fashion : On great 
festivals Charlemagne was wont to distribute money 
to all the poor who assembled at his gate. On Easter- 
day, Wittikind, in the dress of a beggar, penetrated 
into the king's tent, where Mass was being said. After 
mass, he came to receive alms with the rest. He was re- 
cognised in spite of his rags, arrested, and brought before 
the king. Then he asked to become a Christian, and 
ordered the chiefs of his party to lay down their arms. It 
is hardly necessary to add that marvels accompanied this 

On S. Ludger's return, in 787, to Friesland, Charlemagne 
sent him to bear the glad tidings of the gospel of peace to 
the Frisians in the neighbourhood of Groningen and Nor- 
den. Away in the sea to the north was a white island, so 
he was told, a home of hardy seamen, whither S. Willibroad 
had been. Ludger resolved to go to this island of Fosites- 
land, or Heligoland, and water the little seed of life that 
Willibroad had sown there. He embarked in a little vessel, 
and a pleasant breeze springing up, the boat was wafted to- 
wards the distant isle. Ludger stood in the bows, cross in 
hand, and saw a dark grey fog envelope the island. But 
presently the veil of mist rose, and disclosed the white 
chalk-cliffs glittering in sunshine, and the bishop gladly 



March a6] , Ludger, B. of Munster. 479 

took this as an omen of success. He landed, preached the 
faith, and destroyed the temples, erecting churches in their 
stead. The people gladly heard the Word, and Ludger 
baptized them in the waters of the very fountain in which 
S. Willibroad had baptized three of the islanders on a 
former occasion. A son, also, of one of the chiefs em- 
braced the faith, and became a teacher of the Frisians and 
the founder of a monastery. 

After the complete subjugation of the Saxons, S. Ludger 
was directed by the emperor to repair into Westphalia. He 
erected a monastery where now stands the episcopal city of 
Munster, and travelled over the district with unflagging 
energy, wearing no hood, as his biographer says, with 
which monks usually keep their heads and shoulders warm, 
instructed the barbarous tribes, and appointed priests to 
minister the sacraments to them. He was soon after or- 
dained bishop by Hildebold, archbishop of Cologne. His 
heart now turned to the wild Normans, the scourge of all 
the maritime peoples of Gaul and on the Baltic. 

As bishop, he ministered to his Saxon flock with great 
judgment and gentleness, and that proud conquered people 
yielded more to his gentle persuasion than to the harsh 
commands of Charlemagne. He still ruled Friesland, which 
he had brought to the faith. Charlemagne also set him 
over a monastery in Brabant. Thus his dream of the three 
heaps, signifying his rule over three peoples, was fulfilled. 

The chief seat of his diocese was in the canton Sudergau, 
at a place called Mimigardford (or, more properly, Mining- 
ardvard, the fort of Miningard) on the Aa, where he built a 
monastery by the river for the Regular Canons. 

From this establishment the city eventually took its name 
of Munster, though the bishops continued to style them- 
selves "of Mimigard" to the time of Thierry II. 

He built the cathedral of S. Paul at Munster. The rive 

* * 


480 Lives of the Saints. [March a6. 

Frisian counties contributed largely towards the cost. Their 
liberality was commemorated in a sculpture representing 
them offering gifts to S. Paul, which once stood near the 
N.W. door of the cathedral. It was defaced by the Ana- 
baptists in 1535. 

He uprooted idolatry, sowed the Word of God, built 
churches, and ordained priests to minister in them. He 
desired to bring many nations to the knowledge of the true 
God, and volunteered to preach to the heathen Northmen, 
but Charlemagne refused his consent. 

The blameless conduct of Ludger did not save him from 
detractors, nay, perhaps it rather incited their malice. He 
was accused (as the anonymous Frieslander who wrote his 
life tells us) to Charlemagne of penuriousness in decorating 
the houses of God. The emperor summoned him to court, 
and on the morning after his arrival the chamberlain was 
sent to call him before the council. He found Ludger say- 
ing the divine office. Our saint promised to come as soon 
as it was done. A second and a third messenger summoned 
him, but he did not go to the emperor till the office was 
over. Charlemagne asked him, " Why didst thou disregard 
my command to come at once ?" The saint said, " God is 
to be preferred to thee, O king, and to all men." The em- 
peror, pleased at his reply, exclaimed, " I am thankful that 
I have found thee such as I ever esteemed thee, and I 
promise never again to give ear to those who caluminate 
thee." Once Ludger imposed a severe penance on a priest 
who left off saying the office that he might blow the fire, as 
they were saying Matins in their travelling tent, because the 
smoke was driving into the bishop's face ; for the saint de- 
sired to teach his clergy that they ought to suffer nothing to 
disturb them when saying the Divine office. 

Altfrid adds that S. Ludger "was well read in Holy 
Writ," as is clearly proved in the book he wrote about the 

March 16.} S. Ltidger, B. of Mtmstcr. 


life of Gregory and Albric ; moreover, he wrote an account 
of the early events which took place at the coming of S. 
Boniface and at his ordination. His meaning, probably, is 
not that separate lives of these holy men were written by 
Ludger, but that notices of them were inserted in his " Life 
of Gregory." This is the only genuine work of his that has 
survived, for the epistle on the canonization of S. Suibert 
is not from his pen. 

When he felt his end approaching, he devoted more time 
than before to reading Holy Writ, to chanting Psalms, and, 
though feeble in body, he celebrated Mass every day. 

On the day of his death, March 26th, 809, very early, he 
heard Mass at Coesfeld, and preached ; then hastening to 
Billerbeck, arrived there at nine o'clock the same morning, 
preached again, and celebrated his last Mass. That even- 
ing he gently expired. 



482 Lives of the Saints. [March *,. 

March 27. 

Memorial of the Resurrection. 1 

SS. Philetus, Lydia, and Companions, MM. in Illyria, 2nd 

S. Augusta, V.M. at Serravalle in Venetia. 
S. Alexander, M. at Drixipara, in Pannonia. 
SS. Zanitas, Lazarus, and Companions, MM. in Persia, a.d. 326. 
S. John, H. at Lycopolis, in Egypt, a.d. 393. 
S. Rupert, B. of Salzburg, a.d. 718. 
S. Matthew of Beauvais, M. in France, nth cent. 
S. William Tempier, B. of Poitiers, a.d. 1197. 


(2ND CENT.) 

[Greek Mensea and Menologium, and modern Roman Martyrology. 
The following account from the Greek Menology, it is almost needless to 
say, is fabulous.] 

JAINT PHILETUS, a senator, his wife, Lydia, 
their sons, Macedo and Theoprepius, also Am- 
philochius, a general, and Chronides, a registrar, 
who suffered under Hadrian, are venerated by 
Greeks and Latins on this day. According to the account 
in the Menology, Philetus, his wife and sons, and Chronides, 
were handed over to Amphilochius, the general, to be by 
him tortured. Amphilochius ordered them to be cast into 
a vessel of boiling oil, but as the bubbling fluid sud- 
denly became cold, when the martyrs were about to be 
plunged into it, full of astonishment, he exclaimed, " God 
of the Christians, help me !" Then there came a voice 
from heaven, "Thy prayer is heard, come up hither." 
Now when this was noised in the ears of the emperor, he 

In some ancient Martyrologies we find this day set down as that of the Resur- 
rection, but others make the day to be March ajth, March a8th, April 1st, or 
April jth. 

March 37-1 6". AugUStd. 483 

came down, full of wrath, and ordered a cauldron of oil to 
boiled for seven days, and all to be cast thereinto. But 
they were unhurt. Then the emperor left them, and they, 
praying, and giving thanks to God, gave up the ghost. 

(date uncertain.) 

[Ferrarius. in his Catalogue of Saints. Not in the Roman Martyrology. 
Venerated at Serravalle, near Ceneda, on the Piavia. There is at Serravalle 
a church on a hill-top, containing her relics, and to this pilgrimages are 
made on August 1st, the day of the translation of her relics, but the anni- 
versary of her martyrdom is March 27th, and that of the invention of her 
relics in Aug. 22nd. The story of this saint is purely traditional.] 

There was once upon a time, when the Roman empire 
was tottering to its decline, a certain duke of Friuli, named 
Matrucus, of Gothic race, who built for himself a great 
castle on the mountain dominating Serravalle, the ruins of 
which remain to this day. Now the people of that part were 
Christians, but Matrucus was a heathen. He had a daughter 
named Augusta, young and fair, and her heart turned from 
the fierce gods of Germany to the Christ whom the bruised 
and suffering people of Serravalle adored, and to His spot- 
less Mother, so pure and loving. And she sought means 
of receiving instruction, and was baptized secretly. Now 
there were many things in his daughter's conduct which 
roused suspicion in the mind of Matrucus, and he set spies 
to watch her. One day, he was told that she was in the 
church praying, and he rushed in upon her, dragged her 
forth, and locked her up in a chamber of the castle. In 
ungovernable fury he afterwards beat out her teeth, and 
executed her with his sword, reproaching her with having 
despised the gods of their ancestors and degraded the 
honour of his house. 

484 Lives of the Saints. [March a . 


(A.1X 393.) 

[Almost all Latin Martyrologies, not however that of Bede, nor by the 
Greeks. Authorities : Two lives, one by Evagrius, translated into Latin 
by Ruffinus of Aquileia, the other by Palladius, in his Hist. Lausiaca ; 
both were contemporaries, and had visited and conversed with the saint.] 

No solitary after S. Antony acquired such renown as 
S. John of Egypt. He was not only respected by the 
people, but by emperors. The most celebrated doctors and 
ecclesiastical writers, S. Jerome, S. Augustine, S. Prosper, 
Cassian, Palladius, Ruffinus, S. Eucher, and S. Fulgentius, 
have extolled him. John was born at Lycopolis in the 
lower Thebaid, the modern Siout. He exercised the trade 
of a carpenter till he was twenty-five, and then, the desire 
of labouring only for his salvation, of coming to a death- 
grip with flesh and blood, possessed him ; and he placed 
himself under the direction of an aged hermit, whom he 
served with alacrity and diligence. The old man fearing 
lest the merit of this service should be injured by any 
admixture of human affection, affected great capriciousness, 
and gave his disciple many absurd orders. For instance, 
he one day commanded him to plant his staff in the sand 
and water it daily. John obeyed without a murmur, and 
though he had to go two miles for water, continued his task 
for a year. On another occasion, he ordered John to throw 
their dinner out of the window. He was obeyed without a 
trace of hesitation. On one occasion when some visitors 
were with the old man, to exhibit the docility of his disciple, 
he ordered John to run to a rock some distance off, and 
roll it up to his door. John ran, nothing doubting, and 
laid his shoulder, and then breast against the huge mass, 
and toiled ineffectually to move it, dripping with per- 
spiration, till his master recalled him. On the death of the 
hermit, John spent five years in visiting the different mona- x ^ 



March 2 7 .] .S. J ohfl of Egypt. 485 

steries of Egypt, and then he chose a cave in the face of a 
rock, near his native place, and walled up the entrance, 
leaving only a door and window. In this grotto he spent 
the remaining thirty-eight or forty years of his life. 

However great may have been his desire to live in 
solitude, his fame brought great numbers to visit him, so 
that a great house had to be erected at the foot of his rock 
to receive the pilgrims. His abstinence was great He 
ate nothing that had been cooked, not even bread, but took 
only a little fruit at sun-down. He was given an extra- 
ordinary insight into the future, and many of his prophecies 
have been recorded. The most famous were those made 
by him to Theodosius the Great, to whom he announced 
before-hand the irruption of the barbarians into the empire, 
the revolts that would take place, and the means he must 
employ against them. This prince specially consulted him 
concerning two enemies with whom he was called to fight. 
One was Maximus, who had killed the emperor Gratian in 
383, and driven the emperor Valentinian from his posses- 
sions in 387. John assured him of victory, and promised 
that it would be unattended by great effusion of blood. 
Theodosius defeated Maximus in two encounters in l J an- 
nonia, passed the Alps without difficulty, pursued and 
surprised Maximus at Aquileia, where he cut off his head. 
Four years after, Eugenius having seized on the empire of 
the East, through the credit of Arbogastes, who had 
strangled the younger Valentinian, Theodosius resolved to 
march against him. Kugenius, who awaited him, prepared 
for the combat by consulting the augury and the entrails of 
victims. Theodosius sent the eunuch Eutropius into 
Egypt to invite the hermit John to come to him and 
declare to him the will of God. The saint refused to leave 
his cell, but sent word to the emperor by Eutropius that he 
would gain a victory, which would however be very bloody, 



486 Lives of the Saints. [March *i- 

and that he would only survive it a short while. Both 
predictions were accomplished. A battle was fought in the 
plains of Aquileia, on Sept. 6th, 394, in which Eugenius 
was defeated; Theodosius lived till January 17th of the 
following year, and died leaving the empire divided between 
his two sons Arcadius and Honorius. 

Palladius was in the Nitrian desert with his master 
Evagrius, Albinus, Ammon, and three others ; and their 
conversation turned on the reputation of S. John. Evagrius 
expressed his desire to know if all that was reported of his 
great virtue was true, and to have his powers of discern- 
ment tested by some one of experience. Palladius at once 
resolved to go. He was then aged twenty-six. He started 
without communicating his design to any one, and made his 
journey partly on foot, and partly in a boat, for it was the 
period of the overflow of the Nile. This is an unhealthy 
time, owing to the evaporation of the slime left by the 
retreating waters ; and Palladius fell ill on his way. On his 
recovery he prosecuted his journey, and reached the vesti- 
bule of the hermit's cell, where he learnt that John only gave 
audiences on the Sabbath (Saturday) and the Sunday, and 
that he must therefore wait in patience till the Saturday. On 
that day he found the saint seated at his window, through 
which he conversed with all who approached. When John 
saw him, he greeted him through an interpreter, and asked 
his object in visiting him, saying at the same time that he 
looked like a disciple of Evagrius. Palladius satisfied his 
inquiries, and began to converse with him, when Alypius, 
the governor of the province, arrived, and approaching 
hastily, John signed to Palladius to withdraw whilst he 
received the governor. Palladius waited with some im- 
patience, thinking in his heart that John was not free from 
the common infirmity of respect of persons. But the saint 
divined his thoughts, and sending his interpreter to him, 



March 21.} S. John of Egypt. 487 

bade him not be impatient, for he would speedily dismiss 
the governor. When Palladius was recalled, the hermit 
gently reproved him for his thoughts, saying, " It is not the 
whole, but those that are sick that need the physician. Thou 
art constantly engaged in labouring for thy salvation, but 
that man is immersed in the cares of this world, and can 
scarcely snatch an hour from business for the cultivation of 
his soul. Whom should I greet and prefer most readily ?" 
and putting out his hand he gently cuffed Palladius. " And 
now to proceed with thy affairs," continued John. " I know 
that the thoughts of thy father have distracted thee of late, 
and thou hast been thinking of returning from the solitary 
life to him. But know that both he and thy sister have 
entered into religion like thyself. Thy father will live seven 
years longer. Think no more of returning to thy home, for 
it is broken up. He that putteth his hand to the plough, 
and looketh back, is not fit for the kingdom of God." 

These words consoled and encouraged Palladius ; and 
the saint having asked him with a smile whether he wished 
to be a bishop, Palladius answered in the same bantering 
style, that he was one already, as his name implied. " And 
prithee what is thy diocese ?" asked the hermit. " I rule 
the diocese of the kitchen, and my episcopal jurisdiction 
is exercised over pots and pans," answered Palladius. 
" Enough of this joking," said the hermit ; " In truth I tell 
thee thou shalt be a bishop one of these days, and shalt 
suffer many contradictions. But, if thou wouldest escape 
them, leave not thy solitude, for so long as thou remainest 
there, none will ordain thee bishop." 

Some years after, this prophecy was verified ; for, being 
threatened with dropsy, Palladius left the desert for Alex- 
andria, and thence afterwards for Bithynia, where he was 
ordained bishop of Helenopolis. He was speedily envel- 
oped in the persecution against S. Chrysostom, and was 

4< 4< 


488 Lives of the Saints. [March 7 . 

obliged to remain concealed for eleven months in a dark 

Palladius returned from his visit to the Nitrian desert, 
and related all he had seen and heard to Evagrius, who was 
stirred to undertake the journey himself, and his account of 
this visit is found in the pages of Ruffinus. 

(end of iith cent.) 

[Gallican Martyrology. Authority : Guibert, Ab. of Nogent-sous- 
Coussi, 1. 1053, d. 1 124. Guibert knew S- Matthew personally ; they were 
both natives of the same village, and grew up together from childhood as 

Matthew was a knight of noble birth, of Agnetz, near 
Clermont, in Beauvais. He was a model of purity, sin- 
cerity, and piety, ever calm, and never giving way to 
petulance, or agitated by passion. He took the cross and 
went to the East to fight for the recovery of the Holy 
Sepulchre, with the bishop of Beauvais. At the court of 
Alexis, in Constantinople, he was greatly respected. 
Having been made prisoner by the Saracens, he was offered 
his life if he would renounce the cross of Christ. He 
asked to be allowed to delay his reply till the following 
Friday. On that day he was again urged to adopt their 
religion. He replied, " I asked you to grant me this 
delay, not because I had any doubt as to what my 
decision would be, but that I might have the honour and 
felicity of shedding my blood on the same day as my 
Saviour Jesus Christ bled for me. Come then, strike me ! 
I give my life to Him who laid down His for mankind." 
So saying he knelt and stretched forth his neck for the 
blow, and with one stroke was decapitated. 


March as.] S. Xystus or Sixtus. 489 

March 28. 

SS. Priscus, Malchus, and Alexander, MM. at Cauarta, circ 

A.D. 2S9. 

S. Xystus or Sixtus III., Pope, a. p. 440. 

S. Spes, Ah. at Nunia, in Italy, a.d. 513. 

S. Guntram, K. qf Burgundy, a.d. 593. 

S. Conon, Monk at Ntii, in Sicily, a.d. 1236. 

Ve.m. Mary de Mailliac, t'.ff. at Tours, a.d. 1414. 

(a.d. 440.) 

[AINT SIXTUS III. was a native of Rome. He 
succeeded Celestin I., in 432, on the Papal 
throne. He laboured zealously to extinguish 
the Pelagian and Nestorian heresies, and ex- 
hibited great joy at the reconciliation between S. Cyril of 
Alexandria, and John, patriarch of Antioch. Some epistles 
and some religious poems attributed to him exist. He 
built and adorned many churches in Rome, and died 
August 1 8th, 440; and was succeeded by S. Leo the Great. 

(a.d. 513.) 

[Roman Martyrology, and the Benedictine Martyrology of Wyon. Au- 
thority : The Dialogues of S. Gregory the Great, lib. iv. c. 10, from one 
who knew Spes.] 

S. Spes was an abbot of a monastery, at a place called 
Cample, or Campi, near Nursia, who was blind for forty 
years, and bore his affliction with the greatest sweetness 
and patience. At the end of that time his sight was restored 
to him for a brief space, and he occupied this time in 




Lives of the Saints. 

[March 28. 

visiting the monasteries of his order. And on the fifteenth 
day of his recovery he returned to his own house, and 
calling the brethren together, and standing in their midst, 
he received the Body and Blood of Christ, and then lifted 
up his voice to precent the psalms. And as he and the 
brethren sang, his spirit fled, and the brethren saw his 
blessed soul as a white dove soar up to the vault of the 
church, which parted, and the dove ascended into the 
brightness above. 



March 2 9 .} SS. Jonas and Barachisius. 491 

March 29. 

S. Limineus, M. at Clermont in Auiergne, circ. a.d. 355. 
SS. Jonas and Barachisics, Monks MM. in Persia, a.d. 327. 
S. Mark, B. of Arethusa, and S. Cyril, D.M. in Syria, a.d. 3'a. 
S. Mark of Athens, H. in Libya, 4th cent. 
SS. Armooastes, Archinimus, and Saturus, MM. in AJrita, 

circ. a.d. 463. 
S. Gundleus or Gwynllyw Filwr, K.H. in Wales, eire. a.d. 

529. (See Jan. 34th, S. Cadoe.) 
S. Eustace, Ab. of Luxeuil, a.d. 625. 
S. Ludolt, M.B. of Ratzeburg, in Germany, a.d. 1201. 
B. Hugo, Aft. of faucelles, 13th cent. 

(a.d. 327.) 

[Greek Menology of the emperor Basil the younger, and Roman Mar- 
tyrology. Authority : The Acts written by an eye-witness, Esaias, an 
Armenian knight in the troops of king Sapor, pub. in Chaldaic by Asse- 
nian. The Greek version in Metaphrastes has gone through much ampli- 

MBIXG SHAPOOR, or Sapor, of Persia, raised a 
pfcsSI savage persecution against the Christians in his 
realm, believing them to be in league with the 
Roman emperor. Amongst those who suffered 
were Jonas and Barachisius, because they refused to adore 
the sun and fire. Melted lead was poured down the nostrils 
of Jonas, and red-hot plates were placed under his arms, 
and he was hung up by one foot in his dungeon till he 
fainted. His hands and feet were cut off, his tongue torn 
out, and he was pressed to death in a grape-crusher. Bara- 
chisius was treated with equal barbarity. Sharp splinters of 
reed were thrust into his flesh, all over his body, so that he 
resembled a porcupine, and he was then rolled on the 
ground to drive the spikes in. 



49 2 Lives of the Saints. [March a9 . 

(a.d. 362.) 

[By Greeks and Latins on the same day, but the Greeks commemorate 
especially S. Mark, and the modern Roman Martyrology only S. Cyril. S. 
Mark, but not S. Cyril, was in that of Galesinius, prepared for the use of 
the Roman Church, and approved by Gregory XIII., and Clement VIII., 
but was cut out by Baronius, and S. Cyril inserted in his place. The rea- 
son he gave was ' ' Romana Ecclesia non recipit Marcum ilium inter Sanc- 
tos, quem constat Arianum fuisse." But the continuators of Bollandus 
have shown that Baronius was without sufficient grounds for concluding 
that he was an Arian. Authorities: Theodoret, lib. iii. c. 7; Socrates, 
lib. ii. c. 30 ; Theophanes, and the Oration of S. Gregory Nazianzen 
against Julian.] 

Mark, bishop of Arethusa, on Mount Lebanon, was pre- 
sent at the council of Sirmium (a.d. 351), which met to 
depose Photinus, the bishop of Sirmium, who, in spite of 
former censures for heresy, had retained his church. This 
was at a time when the Arian controversy was being carried 
on with great vehemence, and the word " consubstantial " 
was insisted upon by the orthodox, and rejected by the 
Arian party. A third party of semi-Arians, as they were 
called, existed, which comprised within its ranks men of 
two different types. On the one hand were the prelates who 
desired to keep well with an Arian emperor, but who were 
not disposed to surrender the Catholic faith to obtain favour, 
and who were wanting in dogmatic precision. On the other 
hand, there was a body of very pious and thoroughly ortho- 
dox bishops, who hesitated about adopting a new word to 
define our Lord's nature, deprecated the heat displayed by 
both parties, and hoped, by avoiding this burning word, to 
prevent many who were passively or ignorantly heterodox, 
from being forced by the fierceness, wherewith the controversy 
was carried on, to side permanently with heresy. We have 
seen S. Cyril in company with these men. Mark of Arethusa 
was another. At the council he produced a creed, which is 



March 29. j .SVS". Mark and Cyril. 493 

given by Socrates, and which it was hoped would be ac- 
cepted by the semi-Arians and Catholics together. This 
creed is orthodox 1 ; the only questionable passage in it is in 
reference to a text in Genesis, and is so involved and 
obscure that it may be incorrectly given by the historian. 2 
It is as follows : " If anyone shall understand the words, 
(Gen. xix. 24.) 'The Lord rained from the Lord,' not in 
relation to the Father and the Son, but shall say that God 
rained from Himself, let Him be anathema : for the Lord 
the Son rained from the Lord the Father. If anyone, 
hearing the Lord the Father, and the Lord the Son, shall term 
both the Father and the Son Lord, and saying the Lord 
from the Lord, shall assert that there be two Gods, let him 
be anathema. For we rank not the Son with the Father, 
but conceive Him to be subordinate to the Father. For He 
neither came down to Sodom without the Father's will, nor 
did He rain from Himself, but from the Lord who exercises 
supreme authority : nor does He sit at the Father's right 
hand of Himself, but in obedience to the Father." 

But this strange passage must not be taken to deny the 
Lordship of the Son, for the Creed which precedes the ana- 
themas is very explicit on the Eternal Godhead of Christ 
" We believe ... in our Lord Jesus Christ, who was 
begotten of His Father before all ages, God of God, Light 
of Light, by whom all things visible and invisible, which are 
in the heavens and upon the earth, were made ; Who is the 
Word, the Wisdom, the true Light, and the Life." Again, 

1 "Scd ut ese fidei formulae, quihus subscripsisse Marcum habemu* ex F.pi- 
phanio, prorsus fnerunt fidci orthodoxae conformcs, ct in omnibus prastcr vocem 
consubstantialis nihil requlreret : ic nee hoc quidem certum cut, an in concili- 
almlo Sirmiensl quidquam senserit Marcus ab orthodoxa professione diversum." 
Acta SS. Martii T. iii. p. 777. 

* "Quam enim est obscurui hujus anathematisml sensus, tarn est nobis sus- 
pecta fides adjuncts rationis, nihil ad blasphemiam de duobus diis, quss sola dam- 
nari ridetur, facientii, ut propterea intrusa rideri possit ab Ariano aliquo." Bol- 
landus. Ibid. 


494 Lives of the Saints. rMarch*,. 

" If anyone says that the Son was not with God, begotten 
of the Father before all ages, and that all things were not 
made by Him, let him be anathema." 

In the reign of Constantius, Mark had drawn down on 
himself the hatred of the pagan inhabitants of Arethusa, 
by causing the destruction of a magnificent temple. Ac- 
cording to the law published by Julian the Apostate, on his 
accession to the throne, he was, under these circumstances, 
bound to make good the value of the temple in money, or 
else to cause it to be rebuilt. Being in no condition to do 
the former, and thinking he could not conscientiously do 
the latter ; fearing, at the same time, for his life amidst a 
ferocious populace, he betook himself to flight. As others, 
however, were involved in danger on his account, he turned 
back, and voluntarily offered himself to his enemies. The 
fanatical multitude now fell upon him ; he was dragged 
through the streets, stripped, and scourged, then dipped in 
the town sewer, and given over to the school-boys returning 
from their lessons, to mangle him with their iron pens. 
When the old man had almost done breathing, they be- 
smeared him with honey and other liquids, laid him in a 
basket, in which he was swung up in the air, and left to be 
preyed upon by bees and wasps. Mark shamed his cruel 
enemies by the cool indifference which he exhibited under 
all his sufferings. The governor, himself a pagan, repre- 
sented to Julian what scandal it must occasion if they 
allowed themselves to be outdone by the constancy of a 
weak old man ; and the emperor finally commanded him 
to be set free, for it was not his wish, he said, to give the 
Christians any martyrs. After, when Libanius, the heathen 
rhetorician, desired to restrain a governor from indulging in 
the cruel persecution of a Christian who had been accused 
of robbing the temples, he warned him thus : " If he is to 
die in his chains, then look well before you, and consider 

4> . 


March 29.] SS. Mark & Cyril. 495 

what will be the result. Take heed lest you bring upon us 
many more like Mark. This Mark was hung up, scourged, 
plucked by the beard, and bore all with constancy. He is 
now honoured as a god, and, wherever he appears, every- 
body is eager to take him by the hand. As the emperor is 
aware of this, he has not allowed the man to be executed, 
much as he is grieved at the destruction of the temple. 
Let the preservation of Mark be a caution to us." 1 Socrates 
says that the constancy of Mark converted the people of 
Arethusa, and that they submitted to learn from his lips the 
doctrines of Christianity. 

In the same chapter in which Socrates relates the suffer- 
ings of Mark, he tells how other Christians suffered from 
popular tumults at the revival of paganism under Julian. 
" At Askelon, and at Gaza, they seized men truly worthy of 
the priesthood, and women vowed to perpetual virginity, 
and after having ripped open their stomachs, they threw 
them to the pigs to be devoured. At Sebaste, a city of the 
same province, they opened the coffin of John the Baptist, 
burnt his bones, and flung away his ashes. In Heliopolis, 
a city near Lebanon, dwelt Cyril, a deacon. Acting on the 
impulse of ardent zeal, he had there, during the reign of 
Constantius, destroyed many idols. These impious men 
not only killed him in revenge for this act, but after having 
ripped up his stomach, ate his liver. At Dorostolis, a cele- 
brated city of Thrace, Emilius, an undaunted champion of 
the faith, was thrown into the flames by Capitolinus, 
governor of the province." 

1 Liban. ep. 731. 


496 Lives of the Saints. [March , 9 . 


(ABOUT A.D. 463.) 

[Usuardus, Ado, Notker, and Roman Martyrology. Authority : Vic- 
tor of Utica. De Persec. Vand. lib. i. (5th cent.)] 

Genseric, the Vandal king in North Africa, had in his 
early youth renounced the Orthodox communion, and had 
become an Arian. He was exasperated to find that the 
Africans, who fled before him in the field, presumed to dis- 
pute his authority over their faith, and his ferocious mind 
was incapable of fear or of compassion. His Catholic sub- 
jects were oppressed by intolerant laws, and arbitrary 
punishments. The language of Genseric was furious and 
formidable ; the knowledge of his intentions might justify 
the most unfavourable interpretations of his actions ; and 
the Arians were reproached with the frequent executions 
which stained the palace and dominions of the tyrant. 

Genseric had ordered, on the advice of the Arian bishops, 
that no Catholic should be allowed to hold office in his 
house. Now there was found one, named Armogastes, in 
the service of his son Theodoric. He was tortured with 
cords bound round his forehead and legs, compressing the 
flesh painfully. But he looked up to heaven, made the sign 
of the Cross, and the cords broke like a spider's web. 
Stouter cords of hemp were then used, but they proved 
equally inefficacious. He was next suspended by one foot, 
with his head downwards. His master, Theodoric, wished 
to cut off his head, but his hand was arrested by an Arian 
priest present, named Jucundus, who said, " If thou strikest 
off his head, the Romans will honour him as a martyr; 
therefore make him languish to death in other ways." By 
Romans, he meant the conquered inhabitants of the pro- 
vince. Theodoric then sent Armogastes into the province 
of Byzacene, to dig the earth. He afterwards recalled him 

* ^ 

March 89-j 6\S. Armogastes & Companions. 497 

to Carthage, and to disgrace him before all men, made him 

The confessor having had a revelation that his death was 
at hand, said to a Catholic, named Felix, " 1 pray thee, 
bury me under this oak tree, or thou shalt have to give ac- 
count before God for not doing this." Felix replied, " God 
forbid that I should do so ; I will bury thee, as thou de- 
servest, in some church." Armogastes urged him, and 
Felix promised to fulfil his wish, so as not to vex him. The 
saint died a few days after, and Felix began his grave be- 
neath the tree, but the roots incommoded him. He, there- 
fore, got an axe, and cut through them, and found, to his 
surprise, an ancient marble sarcophagus beneath them ; and 
in this he laid the body of Armogastes. 

A certain Archinimus, of the city of Mascula, was also 
called on to confess Christ about the same time. The king 
himself endeavoured to persuade him to disbelieve in the 
eternal Godhead of Christ, and promised him great wealth 
and favour if he would comply with his wishes. But when 
he found that the man would not be persuaded, he gave 
orders that he should be executed, but he sent secret in- 
structions that his life should be spared if he maintained his 
constancy to the last The saint showed no disposition to 
yield, and he was spared. 

Satur, procurator of Huneric, often spoke against Arian 
misbelief. For this he was denounced by an Arian deacon, 
named Varimad. Huneric threatened, unless he conformed 
to the established heresy, that he would deprive him of his 
house, his goods, his slaves, his children, even of his wife, 
and publicly wed her in his presence to a camel-driver. 
Satur remained inflexible, and was despoiled of all things. 
His wife implored delay, and going to her husband, with 
her garments rent, cast herself at his feet, and implored him 
not, by his obduracy, to expose her to such a public disgrace, 

vol. mi. 32 


498 Lives of the Saints. [March a 9 . 

and to such a sin as marriage to another whilst her husband 
lived. He replied, "You speak like one of the foolish 
women. (Job xi. 10.) If you loved me, you would not 
urge me to a second death. He that forsaketh not even 
his wife, the Lord said, when called upon so to do for His 
sake, cannot be His disciple." Then Satur was robbed of 
all, and reduced to beggary ; he was even forbidden to go 
forth from his place. Thus was he despoiled of wealth and 
family, and liberty. " But," says Victor of Utica, " Of his 
baptismal robe they could not rob him." These three men 
are honoured, for their sufferings, as martyrs. 

(a.d. 625.) 

[Roman Martyrology, and that of Ado ; not in the genuine one of 
Bede, nor in that of Usuardus ; but in those of Notker and Maurolycus ; 
and in the Gallican and Benedictine Martyrologies ; and in the Scottish 
one of Dempster. His life was written by Jonas, monk of Bobbio, 
in 664.] 

Eustace, born of a noble family in Burgundy, had spent 
his youth in arms, but he renounced the world and joined 
S. Columbanus at Luxeuil, and when, through the persecu- 
tion of that she-wolf, Brunehault, and her grandson, Thierry, 
king of Burgundy, Columbanus was driven from his monas- 
tery, and from the country, Eustace was deemed worthy to 
succeed him in the government of the abbey. His mar- 
vellous sweetness and tender companion to all who suffered, 
mentally or corporeally, endeared him to his monks ; and 
when they confessed their faults to him, his tears mingled 
with theirs, and filled their hearts with consolation. 

By order of Clothaire II., he travelled into Italy to recall 
Columbanus, and the two saints had the happiness of once 
more falling on each other's necks, embracing. Colum- 


March a 90 S. Eustace. 499 

banus having refused to return, Eustace went back to the 
king and explained to him the reasons of the saint for de- 
clining his invitation. Eustace, therefore, remained at the 
head of the great abbey of Luxeuil, which attracted an in- 
creasing number of monks. However, the missionary 
spirit and desire to preach exercised an overwhelming in- 
fluence over Eustace, as over all the disciples of the great 
Irish missionary. The bishops, assembled in the Council 
of Bonneuil-sur-Marne, by Clothaire II., nominated him to 
preach the faith to unconverted nations. He began with 
the Varasques, who inhabited the banks of the Doubs, near 
Baume, some of whom worshipped the wood-spirit, whilst 
others had fallen victims to heresy. He afterwards tra- 
velled beyond the countries which Columbanus had visited, 
to the extremity of northern Gaul, among the Boii or 
Bavarians. His mission was not without success; but 
Luxeuil, which could not remain thus without a head, soon 
recalled him. 

During the ten years of his rule, a worthy successor of 
Columbanus, he succeeded in securing the energetic support 
of the Frank nobility, as well as the favour of Clothaire 
II. Under his active and intelligent administration, the 
abbey founded by S. Columbanus attained its highest pitch 
of splendour, and was recognised as the monastic capital of 
all the countries under Frank government. The other 
monasteries, into which laxness had but too frequently found 
its way, yielded, one after another, to the happy influence 
of Luxeuil, and gradually reformed themselves by its ex- 
ample. This remarkable prosperity was threatened with a 
sudden interruption by means of the intrigues of a false 
brother who had stolen into the monastic family of Colum- 
banus. A man named Agrestin, who had been secretary 
to king Thierry, the persecutor of S. Columbanus, came 
one day to give himself and his property to Luxeuil. Being 


500 Lives of the Saints. [March a9 . 

admitted among the monks, he soon showed a desire to 
go, like Eustace, to preach the faith to the pagans. In 
vain the abbot, who could see no evangelical quality in him, 
attempted to restrain that false zeal. He was obliged to 
let him go. Agrestin followed the footsteps of Eustace into 
Bavaria, but made nothing of it, and passed from thence 
into Istria and Lombardy, where he embraced the schism of 
the Three Chapters, and endeavoured to involve therein 
Attalus, the second abbot of Bobbio. Failing, he returned 
to Luxeuil, where he tried to corrupt his former brethren. 
Eustace then remembered what the exiled Columbanus had 
written to him, in his letter from Nantes, just before his 
embarkation : " If there is one among you who holds dif- 
ferent sentiments from the others, send him away ; " and he 
commanded Agrestin to leave the community. To avenge 
himself, the schismatic began to snarl, says the contempo- 
rary annalist, hawking here and there injurious imputations 
against the rule of S. Columbanus. Abellinus, bishop of 
Geneva, listened to his denunciations, and exerted himself 
to make the neighbouring prelates share his dislike. King 
Clothaire, who heard of it, and who was always full of soli- 
citude for Luxeuil, assembled most of the bishops of the 
kingdom of Burgundy in the council of Macon. To this 
council Eustace was called, and the accuser invited to state 
his complaints against the rule. They were directed against 
certain insignificant peculiarities. " I have discovered," 
said he, " that Columbanus has established usuages which 
are not those of the whole Church." And thereupon he 
accused his former brethren, as with so many heresies, of 
making the sign of the cross upon their spoons when eating ; 
of asking a blessing in entering or leaving any monastic 
building ; and of multiplying prayers at Mass. He insisted 
especially against the Irish tonsure, which Columbanus had 
introduced into France, and which consisted solely in shav- 



March .<>] S. EuStOCe. 


ing the front of the head, from one ear to the other, without 
touching the hair of the back part, while the Greeks shaved 
the entire head, and the Romans only the crown. 

Eustace had no difficulty in justifying the customs of 
Luxeuil, and in discomfiting the violence of his accuser. 
But as Agrestin always returned to the charge, the abbot 
said to him : " In presence of these bishops, I, the disciple 
and successor of him whose institute thou condemnest, cite 
thee to appear with him, within a year, at the tribunal of 
God, to plead thy cause against him, and to learn to know 
the justice of Him whose servant thou hast attempted to 
caluminate." The solemnity of this appeal had an effect 
even upon the prelates who leant to the side of Agrestin : 
they urged him to be reconciled to his former abbot, and 
the latter, who was gentleness himself, consented to give 
him the kiss of peace. But this goodness did not benefit 
Agrestin. Hopeless of succeeding at Luxeuil itself, he 
sowed revolt and calumny in the other monasteries which 
had proceeded, like Luxeuil, from the colonising genius of 
Columbanus, at Remiremont and Faremoutier. But shortly 
before the expiration of the year, he was slain with a blow 
of an axe by his servant, whose wife, it was reported whe 
ther truly or not Jonas does not commit himself to decide 
he had intended to dishonour. At length, in 625, Eustace 
was called to his rest, and was succeeded in the govern- 
ment of the abbey by S. Wandelbert (May 7th.) 

His relics were preserved in the abbey of Vergaville, in 
the diocese of Metz, but on its destruction in 1792 they 
were carried away and concealed by the last abbess, 
Madame de la Marche, in the house of M. I-abrosse, curd 
of Surianville. They were surrendered by him, on the re- 
turn of security, to Mgr. Ant. Eustachc Osmond, bishop of 
Nancy, and they were placed in two shrines in the Bene- 
dictine priory of Flavigny-sur-Moselle, in Meurthc, in 1824. 



502 Lives of the Saints. [March 29. 

(a.d. 1236.) 

[Gallican Martyrology. Authority : Thomas Cantipratensis.] 

One of the most fervent and exemplary religious of the 
abbey of Vaucelles in the early part of the 13th century 
was Hugo de Villa, formerly dean of the church of Cam- 
brai. He was as distinguished for the nobility of his birth, 
and of his talents, as he was for his virtue. The fear of 
being called to fill some episcopal throne prompted him to 
take refuge in the monastery of Vaucelles, where the rule 
of the first children of S. Bernard was rigorously observed. 
When the project of the pious dean was known, many per- 
sons came to ask him to give them a handsome tame falcon 
he possessed. Hugo refused, and dissembled his intentions 
till the moment that he entered religion. He arrived at the 
gates of the abbey with the bird, and then, cutting the 
string that held the falcon captive, he gave it liberty, saying, 
" My dear bird ! fly away and enjoy thy liberty in peace, 
for I am leaving thee for ever." 

Thomas de Cantinpre', his biographer, says, " I have 
often heard from the mouths of eye-witnesses that during 
his noviciate, birds would come and perch on his hands, 
and eat crumbs out of them. The master of the novices, 
to prove his virtue by opposing this innocent pleasure, re- 
proached him. The good religious then drove away the 
birds that fluttered around him, saying, with that simplicity 
which marked all his conduct, ' Away, birds ! I am not sur- 
prised that you are ordered off: my age and condition 
requires that you should obey me, and not I you.' " 

if* tft 


March *J .S. Secundus. 503 

March 30. 

S. Secundus, M. at Aste, in Italy, a.d. 119. 

S. Quirinus the Tkibunk, M. at Rome, a.d. 130. 

S. Regulus, B. 0/ Aries and Senlis, 4th cent. 

SS. Martyrs at Constantinople, slain by Macedonia*, the Htresiarxh, 

a.d. 351. 
S. John in the Well, H. in Armenia. 
S. John Climacos, Ah. 0/ Mount Sinai, about a.d. 606. 
S. Zosimus, B. 0/ Syracuse, circ. a-d. 660. 
S. Patto, B. cflVerden, qth cent. 
S. Vero, C. at Limbecke, in Hainault, t)lh cent. 
B. Dodo Van Hascha, O.P., C. in Friesland, a.d. 1331. 
B. Peter Regulatus, O.M., C. at Aguilar, in Old CastilU, 

AD. I456. 

B. Amadeus, Duke 0/ Savoy, A.D. 1472. 

(a.d. 119.) 

[Molanus, in his additions to Usuardus, Maurolycus, and other modern 
Martyrologies. Not in the Roman Martyrology. The Acts, of whicl. 
there exist several versions, are not worthy of trust. They may possibly 
contain the original Acts, but if so, they are so embedded in fable that it is 
impossible to disti